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Issue: April 2005
By: Frank Bisbee

Datacom/Telecom Glossary
In This Issue

Bits N' Pieces

Bisbee's Buzz

Swimming With Sharks 2005

Buyer Beware. Check's in the mail. Not Exactly. Warning - Warning - Warning. In an ever increasing media hype frenzy, we hear about the new 10 Gig cabling systems. In fiber optic cabling, this is a solid technology that can deliver the goods. In copper based communications cabling, particularly 4PR UTP - four pair unshielded twisted pairs, there is no TIA approved standard for 10G at this time. Several manufactures are touting 10G packages based on drafts or proposals that are being considered by the various standard-making bodies. If you buy into a product that has not been finalized as a standard, you may find your system missing a critical component of performance in the future.

When it comes to cabling standards, the communications consumer has been getting the short end of the stick for more than two decades. The standards have not kept pace with technology and failed to alert the consumer to the obsolescence factor embedded in the "Standard."

Using an antiquated standards system, which is more political than technical, is the "Lazy Buyer" approach. If you don't know what you are buying, don't let some political bureaucracy sell you a load of outmoded cabling. Technology is moving rapidly, and the ability to design a barrier to obsolescence is critical. The cable and connector manufacturers are way ahead of the curve in this important area. The smart money is on the manufacturers and distributors who have designed product configurations which capture the best values in the technology for today's needs and tomorrow's demands. Be sure to read the small print. The warnings about shortcomings may be very subtle.

The infrastructure of communications cabling should be designed to accommodate the needs of the user over the specified time frame. It should support the technology through any changes during the established and required time frame. If you have a three-year lease and you plan to relocate, then the cabling will only have to serve your needs for that period of time. Then, you can move out and leave the cable behind.

Wrong! The removal and disposal of abandoned cable carries a big price tag. We don't know how big the price tag will be yet. However, we do know that the PVC materials and the heavy metals such as lead, which are in many of the cables, will cost a great deal more to dispose of properly. The building owners will only accept this practice of abandonment, until they are handed the bill for the cable mining. Leases are changing radically.

The "standards" have no provisions to address the environmental issues and leave the uninformed buyer facing financial pain. Once again, the "standards" failed to recognize these important issues. It's a good thing that the manufacturers do recognize these environmental challenges and they are working diligently to develop new constructions with materials that reduce our exposure to harmful effects. For example, is limited combustible cable safer than CMP plenum cable? All limited combustible cable is rated as CMP plenum cable. Is it safer? Not exactly, the limited combustible cable is not tested for toxicity. The gases generated by heat decomposition of the materials used in limited combustible cable are highly toxic and can incapacitate the building occupants. Since the standards organizations have no liability for their "standards," they have invested little or no attention to this important aspect of the cabling world.

Cabling systems are being reviewed to capture the new information on the environmental issues and subsequent downstream costs. Some experts predict the cost of cable mining could exceed the cost of the materials and original installation. Disposal and recycling will dictate an important factor in the calculation of these after-the-fact surprises.

Face it, the smart buyer better know a heck of a lot more than the "standards." And the smart buyer needs to forget about the lowest bid. Later on, the lowest bid could have the biggest price tag. Digging out the right answers is no small challenge. We can guarantee that failure to do your homework will certainly result in some form of functional or financial penalty.

But that's just my opinion,

Frank Bisbee
"Heard On The Street" column
Jacksonville, FL
(904) 645-9077

NECA presents Conference on Integrated Building Systems

March 10, 2005- Bethesda- The Conference on Integrated Building Systems, formerly the VDV Conference and Expo in Las Vegas will run concurrently with the annual NECA convention and trade show in New Orleans September 17-20, 2005. "This event will prepare electrical contractors to become general contractors and specialty contractors to become prime contractors," said NECA CEO John Grau. "The Master Format has had dramatic changes, and now contractors have to change how they approach business."

What used to be found in Division 16 is now divided among ten different divisions. How do you bid this work? How do you manage your business in this rapidly changing market? "The theme for the 2005 Conference on Integrated Building Systems zeros in on the business issues that contractors need to effectively compete in today's market," said Mary Germershausen, NECA Executive Director Systems Technology. "Whether you have expanded into network cabling, sound, security, fire & life safety, access control, home networking, or all of the above, the Conference on Integrated Building Systems prepares contractors for the growing convergence market."

Attendees will learn from sessions like: How the Master Format will Affect the way you do Business; Opportunities as a Result of Homeland Security; 2005 NEC Changes; How the Courts Interpret Specifications; Security Technology Innovations for the 21st Century; Project Scheduling; Safety in the Workplace - OSHA Training; Ten Things you need to know about Surety Bonds; What to do to Prevent Lawsuits; Lean Construction-Efficient Construction; and Project Delivery Systems. Three eight-hour workshops will be presented on Saturday, September 17th: Master Format Course; Fire Alarm Code Update; and Significant Changes to the NEC.

NECA is expanding the Technical workshops this year to feature not only the latest trends in the electrical industry, but also informative IBS and Lighting workshops. These educational sessions will be presented, all three days, by industry experts right on the exhibit show floor. IBS Conference attendees will have the added benefit of a private reception just with IBS exhibitors on Monday evening, September 19th.

The Conference on Lighting Education will also take place in conjunction with the NECA Convention and Trade Show in New Orleans. Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase a discounted Conference Hopper pass, which allows contractors to register for both events.

New Orleans is a truly unique American city. The Big Easy knows how to entertain visitors of every description. Guests will find a festival of lights, Dixieland jazz, Cajun cooking, voodoo, lazy antebellum mansions framed in Spanish moss and world famous hospitality. The Conference will be co-located between the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel located at 621 St. Louis Street and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center September 17-20, 2005. Full details are available at . The conference costs $300 and registration opens the beginning of June. To exhibit, call Beth Ellis at 301-2154507.

The National Electrical Contractors Association, founded in 1901, is the leading representative of a segment of the construction market comprised of over 70,000 electrical contracting firms. The industry employs over 650,000 electrical workers and produces an annual volume of over $95 billion. NECA includes 120 U.S. chapters in addition to others in countries around the world. The association sponsors the NECA Show, renowned as the industry's premiere event, which features cutting-edge technologies, highlights new trends, and provides courses to help contractors broaden their knowledge and skill. NECA is dedicated to enhancing the industry through continuing education, labor relations, current information and promotional activities. To learn more about the industry or NECA's services, please visit


The CABA Board of Directors has announced that it has entered into an agreement with International Business Forum. IBF will produce and manage CABA's CONNECT 2005 Intelligent Building Conference - Building development, strategic partnering and private equity investing for emerging technologies. The event will be held June 28, 2005 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.

This conference will provide market intelligence and business contacts focusing on the impact that new technology innovations are having on the $37.7 billion dollar worldwide building control systems industry. The focus of CONNECT 2005 will be to bring together venture capitalists, funding sources, new business development, strategic product managers, M&A executives, institutional investors, CTOs, corporate engineers and strategic corporate planning executives with growth technology companies. Attendees will hear cutting-edge information on: how Fortune 500 companies are viewing technology innovations and applications for the large/commercial intelligent and integrated buildings market; why venture capitalists and corporate investors are investing in growth areas of integrated building systems and communications; commanding the value of intellectual property in strategic alliances; and strategic partnering and alliances for business development.

IBF is well suited to run this conference, since its core competency is financial and business conferences focused on venture capital, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, corporate strategic investing, risk management, funding technology innovation, commercialization of intellectual property and corporate employee benefits. With the addition of CABA's CONNECT Conference, the organization will now cover integrated systems and building automation.

"We are extremely pleased to be able to take an active role in the large building and integrated systems sector through our new partnership with CABA," states Alexandra Scott, President and CEO of International Business Forum. "Working with the association will increase the scope of our key business contacts and provide the association with the flexibility it requires to focus on conference programming rather than logistics."

Founded in 1989 by Alexandra Scott, IBF organizes conferences to provide strategic information to key business executives. Attendees include: venture capitalists, technology start-ups, entrepreneurs, investment and commercial bankers, chief executive officers, chief financial officers, pension plan sponsors, endowment and foundation investment officers, corporate investors, money managers; employee benefits managers, new business development executives and corporate decision makers.

With the inclusion of the CONNECT Conference, IBF will also be able to feature numerous large building industry stakeholders who will discuss and identify key issues facing the sector with respect to integrated systems and intelligent building technologies.

"As continuing host of CONNECT 2005, CABA will ensure that critical issues are presented and discussed among key industry stakeholders," said Ronald J. Zimmer, CABA President & CEO. "It is CABA's intention to attract industry leaders who encourage the development and promotion of integrated systems and automation in large buildings."

Under the terms of the agreement, CABA will retain full ownership of the conference.

CABA is also pleased to announce that it has selected the site for CONNECT 2005. The event will be held in conjunction with the Realcomm 2005 conference also being held June 25-28, 2005 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

CABA's CONNECT Conference will also be located along side the North American Commercial Real Estate Congress and the Office Building Show presented by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International, also being held June 25-28 at the Anaheim Convention Center. Access to both the Realcomm and BOMA exhibition floors will be free for CONNECT attendees, and discounts will be made available to attend the Realcomm sessions.

"People are simply out of time," said Jim Young, CEO and Producer, Realcomm. "Now, more than ever, we need to learn at an accelerated pace and strategic networking is critical. We just can't expect people to go to 15 conferences each year. We are trying to listen to the industry. The concept of bringing a number of conferences into the same city at the same time will make it easier for our professionals to participate. We are happy that CABA and BOMA will join us in this milestone event and help us to build on the concept of a Commercial Real Estate Week."

Commercial Real Estate Week will feature the most successful, progressive and innovative commercial real estate professionals and technology in the world.

About CABA
CABA is the only industry association to offer industry intelligence to stakeholders in all areas of home & building automation. CABA's resources cover areas such as HVAC, lighting, security, A/V, communications technologies, energy management and controls. A number of resources are available through the association including iHomes & Buildings magazine, CABA's Summits and Conferences, CABA's monthly eBulletin, Information Series reports, Event Reports and the CABA web site. Please visit for further information.

About IBF
IBF - International Business Forum presents financial and business conferences on venture capital, corporate finance, mergers & acquisitions, corporate strategic investing, defined contribution/401(k) plans, risk management, funding technology innovation, commercialization of intellectual property and corporate employee benefits. IBF conferences provide attendees with leading-edge information, and new business contacts to achieve business objectives. More information is available at

About Realcomm
Realcomm is the world's leading conference and exposition on technology, business solutions, intelligent buildings, and the Internet for the Commercial Real Estate industry. The annual conference targets the needs of Commercial Real Estate at all levels including executive, management, professional and support. Realcomm 2004 will be held June 3-4, 2004 in San Francisco, CA at the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. For additional information, please visit

Hitachi Announces the Year-End Dividend for Fiscal 2004

TOKYO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 15, 2005--Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE:6501 - News; NYSE:HIT - News) today announced a plan for the year-end dividend for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2005 as follows. The plan will be finally authorized at a meeting of the Board of Directors to be held in the middle of May 2005 after the statutory audit of the financial statements etc. under the Commercial Code of Japan.

NAED and TED Magazine Celebrate 40 Years of Marketing,
Sales Education with the 2005 AdVenture Conference

(ST. LOUIS, MO)…NAED and TED Magazine celebrate 40 years of marketing and sales education with the 2005 AdVenture Conference-North America's Electrical Marketing & Sales Conference, July 31 - Aug. 2 at the Chicago Hyatt Regency, Chicago, Ill. This premier sales and marketing conference for North American electrical distributors, manufacturers, and manufacturer's representatives is reclaiming the AdVenture name as a tribute to its rich 40-year history. NAED has hosted more than 5,000 registrants since its first AdVenture Conference, and TED has presented more than 1,000 Best of the Best Marketing awards in that timeframe.

The conference is sponsored by NAED and TED Magazine, along with the Electro-Federation of Canada (EFC), National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), and National Electrical Manufacturers' Representatives Association (NEMRA). The conference is also endorsed by Affiliated Distributors (A-D), IMARK, Equity/EDN, the Electric Association of Chicago, and the Business Marketing Association (BMA). The purpose of the conference is to increase and improve marketing and sales efforts in the electrical distribution industry through best practices, networking and a combined effort to improve skills and knowledge.

For distributor Todd Reed, counter marketing coordinator with Graybar in St. Louis, Mo., this year's AdVenture will be the seventh conference he has attended. "Every year I've been able to take something away from the conference and apply it to my work," said Reed. "And the more I went, the more comfortable I was with other distributors and with the manufacturers. I was able to speak to the top people in suppliers' marketing departments and get some questions answered that my local reps couldn't answer. It's helpful to be working with a name, not a company. You get the manufacturer's insight into how things are done."

The 2005 AdVenture Conference is designed to benefit anyone in the electrical industry who has direct or supervisory responsibility for marketing, sales, or advertising, including advertising agency personnel. Highlights include separate breakout sessions for sales and marketing, combined sessions, roundtable discussions, expert panels, sessions on TED Magazine's Best of the Best marketing awards, and a sales-marketing team focus.

Susan Smith, vice president of marketing for Pass & Seymour/Legrand in Syracuse, N.Y. also appreciates the opportunity to interact with other marketing professionals. "The AdVenture Conference has a strong heritage of being a great venue for manufacturers and distributors to share best practices in marketing. It's valuable to me to be with other professionals who have the same goals of building business through distribution. It's inspirational, motivational and fun," said Smith.

DYMO Industrial Hires National Sales & Training Manager

Al Feaster appointed as National Sales & Training Manager
for DYMO's Industrial Business Unit

DYMO Industrial proudly announces that Albert Feaster has joined their growing team as the National Sales & Training Manager. In this role, Al will have responsibility for managing relationships and building RhinoPRO sales with strategic national datacom accounts. Al will also have an important dual role by leading our training and education initiative.

"RhinoPRO Label Printers are excellent products and I'm excited about the prospect of leveraging the excitement that DYMO Industrial has created within the datacom market to drive category growth for our distribution partners" said Al Feaster.

"The Industrial Business Unit at DYMO is committed to building a world class organization by investing in top industry talent. Al's experience with Krone, Ortronics, ADC and as the Executive Director of BiCSi provides us with a valuable network that will allow us to get a fast start within the industry", said Ernie Racenet, Global Director, Industrial Business Unit, DYMO Corporation. "Labeling has many important end user benefits, yet the category remains under-leveraged by distribution and therefore offers the potential to create a substantial new revenue stream for distributors."

Distributors interested in selling the RhinoPRO range of Industrial Labeling Tools or partners that desire more information about the RhinoPRO training program are encouraged to contact Al Feaster at

General Cable Corporation Acquires Specialty Electronics and Datacom Assets from Draka Comteq

General Cable Corporation (NYSE:BGC - News) announced today the closing of its acquisition of certain assets of Draka Comteq's business in North America, which was previously announced on November 30, 2004. Comteq, based in Franklin, Massachusetts, has strong technical and manufacturing capabilities in electronic cables, as well as high-end data products. The assets acquired also include the well-known brand "Helix/Hi-Temp." General Cable intends to continue operations at the Franklin location.

"We are excited about the product and customer opportunities that will be available to us with the expanded product lines of our combined businesses. The Franklin facility will greatly expand our product offering of specialty electronics and data communications cables. It will also allow us to add new customers for data cables and provide us needed capacity for growth opportunities in the communications market," said Greg Lampert, General Cable's Vice President and General Manager, Carol Brand Products. "We are also excited about the 'Helix/Hi-Temp' brand name, which has a rich history that dates back to the mid-1950s. We look forward to working closely with our new associates at the Franklin facility."

General Cable, headquartered in Highland Heights, Kentucky, is a leader in the development, design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of copper, aluminum and fiber optic wire and cable products for the energy, industrial, specialty and communications markets. Visit our website at

Certain statements in this press release, including without limitation, statements regarding future financial results and performance, plans and objectives, capital expenditures and the Company's or management's beliefs, expectations or opinions, are forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from those statements as a result of factors, risks and uncertainties over which the Company has no control. Such factors include economic and political consequences resulting from the September 2001 terrorist attack and the war with Iraq, domestic and local country price competition, particularly in certain segments of the power cable market and other competitive pressures; general economic conditions, particularly in construction; changes in customer or distributor purchasing patterns in our business segments; the Company's ability to increase manufacturing capacity and productivity; the financial impact of any future plant closures; the Company's ability to successfully complete and integrate acquisitions and divestitures; the Company's ability to negotiate extensions of labor agreements on acceptable terms; the Company's ability to service debt requirements and maintain adequate domestic and international credit facilities and credit lines; the Company's ability to pay dividends on its preferred stock; the impact of unexpected future judgments or settlements of claims and litigation; the Company's ability to achieve target returns on investments in its defined benefit plans; the Company's ability to avoid limitations on utilization of net losses for income tax purposes; the cost of raw materials, including copper and aluminum; the Company's ability to increase its selling prices during periods of increasing raw material costs; the impact of foreign currency fluctuations; the impact of technological changes; and other factors which are discussed in the Company's Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 12, 2004, as well as periodic reports filed with the Commission.

Mohawk Offers ArmorLite™, An Expanded Line of In-Stock Interlocked Armor Fiber Optic Cables

Leominster, MA, February 11, 2005... Mohawk, a leading manufacturer of fiber optic and copper cable products, announces the ArmorLite family of fiber optic cables, manufactured with interlocked armor to provide enhanced cable protection. This robust cable eliminates the need for additional innerduct, which saves installation time and space in plenum or riser pathways. In addition, significant product and labor costs are realized with ArmorLite's "one pull" installation procedure.

Depending on the environment, ArmorLite is available with either aluminum or more heavy-duty steel interlocking over either tight-buffered or loose-tube constructions. Armoring provides excellent mechanical protection and is both durable, yet flexible. These cables meet stringent industry flame-resistant testing and are rated Type OFCP or Type OFCR. And with all Mohawk cables, jacketing is lead-free.

"ArmorLite is mainly used to replace indoor cables previously installed in conduit, innerduct, trays, riser shafts, wiring closets or plenums," states Mike Connaughton, RCDD, Fiber Optic Sales Manager, Mohawk. The rugged construction is ideal for heavy industrial applications where an added measure of protection in a flexible design is required. Cables are available from stock in plenum in 6, 12 and 24 fiber counts. Other versions are also available up to 144 fibers.

"The most important feature of a fiber optic cable jacket is to protect the cable's integrity in the environment," notes Connaughton. "But, when additional protection is needed, the cable is installed in conduit or innerduct. With ArmorLite, not only are we providing the highest protection of the fiber, but we are also saving time for the installer by eliminating the conduit. With one pull, there is less stress on the cable which even further adds to the cable's performance," he adds.

About Mohawk
Mohawk, a division of Belden CDT, is headquartered in Leominster, Massachusetts, and has been providing fiber and copper cable innovations for over 50 years. Their headquartered location dedicates 210,000 square feet to today's most advanced facilities for the design, development and production of copper, fiber optic, and hybrid wire and cable. Mohawk, an ISO 9001 certified company, develops products to meet and support TIA/EIA, ISO/IEC, ICEA and NEMA standards. As part of the global Belden CDT operations, Mohawk is supported with worldwide management, financial resources, and distribution capabilities.

Anixter and Times Microwave Systems Sign Distribution Agreement for LMR(R) Products

GLENVIEW, Ill., and WALLINGFORD, Conn., March 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Anixter (NYSE: AXE - News), a worldwide distributor of communications products, electrical and electronic wire & cable and Times Microwave Systems, the industry leader in the design and manufacture of high performance coaxial cables and RF transmission line components, today announced that they have signed a distribution agreement for the Times LMR® product line which under the agreement, Anixter will stock and distribute to its customers throughout North America.

Times LMR® cables are flexible, non-kinking low loss RF transmission line cables that utilize easy-to-install connectors and are suitable for use as antenna feeders, system jumpers and interconnects.

"We are excited that this new partnership will allow our customers to have access to the broadest flexible cable product line available in the wireless communications market," said Mike Durot, Anixter's Vice President of Marketing for Electronic Products.

According to Robert D. Perelman, Vice President, Commercial Sales & Marketing for Times Microwave Systems, "This agreement will help Times to expand into new market segments through Anixter's extensive organization, experience and presence in a broad range of industries."

SYSTIMAX(R) Solutions Expands Portfolio by Delivering Management Solutions
for Enterprise Wireless LAN Deployments

SYSTIMAX Solutions(TM), a worldwide leader in structured connectivity solutions and services for businesses, today announced it has selected Wavelink®, a leading provider of mobile infrastructure management software for the enterprise, as the wireless LAN management solution to facilitate the administration and management of the SYSTIMAX AirSPEED Solution wireless networks for enterprise customers.

When it is deployed as part of the SYSTIMAX AirSPEED Solution, Wavelink's wireless LAN management software products, Wavelink Mobile Manager(TM) and Wavelink Avalanche(TM), enable network administrators to deploy, secure and manage wireless networks and mobile devices rapidly and easily. Increased customer efficiency in the deployment and management of wireless LANs with Wavelink is a cornerstone of SYSTIMAX Solutions' strategy to deploy wired and wireless solutions that enhance customers' return on investment.

"As enterprises move to set up wireless networks to complement their wired networks, they need a central and seamless way to manage both sides," said Stephen Drake, Program Director, Mobile Software for IDC, a leading global market intelligence and advisory firm in the information technology and telecommunications industries. "Suppliers who address the needs associated with both enable customers to integrate wireless more easily and securely into their current business processes."

"Wireless LAN management is an integral part of the SYSTIMAX AirSPEED wireless solution for our enterprise customers," said John Terhoeve, Director of Strategy and Business Development for SYSTIMAX Solutions. "We believe Wavelink is an industry leader in this space due to their superior management and access control features that complement our wireless solution. Our customers can be confident that Wavelink's management solution will help them reduce operational costs and improve the return on investment in their wireless LAN."

"Together, Wavelink and SYSTIMAX Solutions will provide customers with a highly integrated and secure management solution to support mobility and productivity across an organization," said Dave Bullis, CEO and President of Wavelink. "We expect customers to benefit from the rapid deployment and easy management of their wireless networks when they use our products. This agreement with SYSTIMAX Solutions is an important step in meeting the management needs of customers as they build more sophisticated wireless environments."

The SYSTIMAX AirSPEED Solution combines state-of-the-art, enterprise-class access points with Signal Enhancing Antennas (SEA) and rack-mounted Power over Ethernet (PoE) devices to enable mobility, productivity and network security in the workplace.

New Lighting Conference for Electrical Contractors in New Orleans

March 10, 2005- Bethesda- NECA raises the bar on educational opportunities for all electrical contractors with the launch of the new Conference on Lighting Education September 17-20, 2005 in New Orleans. The first annual event will run concurrently with the NECA Convention and trade show. "This event is for all electrical contractors and NECA invites the industry to take advantage of this unparalleled opportunity," said NECA CEO John Grau. "This Conference can teach contractors how to learn to turn lighting projects into more lighting profits." Recent industry research clearly identified the electrical contractor's specification power in the area of lamps, ballasts, fixtures, and controls in both new construction and in renovation/retrofit projects. NECA is assembling the finest roster of lighting industry experts to focus on specific contractor needs.

Mary Beth Gotti, Manager, of GE's Lighting Institute will present the Conference Keynote Address "Opportunities in the Lighting Market Today." Earl Print, recently retired Director Sales Development & Lighting Education for Lightolier, and Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) Board member, will talk on "Improvements in Lighting Systems Technologies: Lamps, Ballasts & Luminaires" and "The Cost of Light". Lithonia Lighting / Acuity Brands Vice President, Cheryl English will present "Lighting Codes Update" and "Neighborhood Friendly Outdoor Lighting". Ms. English is also the Vice Chairwoman of NEMA's Lighting Division. Randy Burkett, President of Randy Burkett Lighting Design, and former President of the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) will present "Substitution: Value Engineering with Quality" and "Make More $$$ Up selling than Substituting". The Conference on Lighting Education will feature an eight-hour workshop on "Lighting Design Basics" led by Fred Oberkircher, of Texas Christian University's Center for Lighting Education, also an IESNA Board member. Mark Lien, Manager of Cooper's Lighting Center, the SOURCE, will present " The 5 Forces of Change in the Lighting Industry" which will include an energy crisis update, the globalization of lighting products, the effects of light on life forms, energy and environmental legislation, and radical new technologies. All these issues have a tremendous effect on how we conduct our business.

Lighting industry expert Craig DiLouie will lead a panel discussion among members of the Lighting Controls Association, a division of NEMA. They will discuss energy efficiency innovations in controls. Panel members include representatives from Lutron, Leviton, Advance Transformer, and Square D. Additional topics include; Lighting for Safety and Security; LED Lighting; Health Care Lighting, The Aging Eye, and more.

NECA will offer lighting technical workshops on the expanded exhibit show floor. Topics such as Best Practice for Installations, Residential, Commercial and Industrial which are joint NECA / IESNA developed documents; What's Happening in Compact Fluorescent Lamp Technology; and High-Intensity Discharge Update.

The Conference on Integrated Building Systems (formerly VDV Conference & Expo) will also take place concurrently with the NECA Convention and Trade Show in New Orleans. Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase a discounted Conference Hopper pass, which allows contractors to register for both events.

New Orleans is a truly unique American city. The Big Easy knows how to entertain visitors of every description. Visitors will find a festival of lights, Dixieland jazz, Cajun cooking, voodoo, lazy antebellum mansions framed in Spanish moss and world famous hospitality. The Conference will take place at the high-tech Ernest N. Morial Convention Center September 17-20, 2005. Full details are available at . The conference cost is $300 and registration will open the beginning of June. For exhibit information, call Beth Ellis at 301-2154507.

The National Electrical Contractors Association, founded in 1901, is the leading representative of a segment of the construction market comprised of over 70,000 electrical contracting firms. The industry employs over 650,000 electrical workers and produces an annual volume of over $95 billion. NECA includes 120 U.S. chapters in addition to others in countries around the world. The association sponsors the NECA Show, renowned as the industry's premiere event, which features cutting-edge technologies, highlights new trends, and provides courses to help contractors broaden their knowledge and skill. NECA is dedicated to enhancing the industry through continuing education, labor relations, current information and promotional activities. To learn more about the industry or NECA's services, please visit

Eaton Corporation Pledges $500,000 To NAED Foundation

(ST. LOUIS, MO.)…The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) announces a $500,000 commitment by Eaton Corporation to the NAED Education & Research Foundation.

"Eaton has long been committed to the valued role of electrical distribution to our industry and is proud to support the NAED Education & Research Foundation. We are always looking for ways to improve our business processes and to add value for our customers and channel partners. We applaud NAED's efforts to foster innovation among its membership through programs like the Channel Advantage Partnership...Fresh ideas and fresh approaches will continue to ensure the mutual success of both distributors and manufacturers," said Randy Carson, senior vice president and group executive for Eaton.

Eaton Corporation is a diversified industrial manufacturer with 2004 sales of $9.8 billion. A global leader, Eaton produces fluid power systems and services for industrial, mobile and aircraft equipment; electrical systems and components for power quality, distribution and control; automotive engine air management systems, powertrain solutions and specialty controls for performance, fuel economy and safety; and intelligent truck drivetrain systems for safety and fuel economy. The company has 55,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 125 countries.

In the electrical industry, Eaton is a leading manufacturer of electrical control, power distribution, and industrial automation products and services. Through advanced product development, world-class manufacturing methods, and global engineering services and support, Eaton provides customer-driven solutions under brand names, such as Cutler-Hammer®, Powerware®, Holec®, and MEM®, which serve the changing needs of the industrial, utility, light commercial, residential and OEM markets worldwide. For more information, visit

"We are thankful for Eaton's generous donation to the NAED Education & Research Foundation. This gift is a big step toward building a permanent funding base for the Foundation and will help us to focus our efforts on developing progressive training resources and research projects to address the needs of our industry," said Bill Elliott, chairman of the Channel Advantage Partnership Council and president of Elliott Electric Supply in Nacogdoches, Texas.

The company's donation will become part of an endowment fund for the NAED Education & Research Foundation. The principal amount of the endowment will remain untouched, while the interest will be used to commission future projects and studies. As a $500,000 donor, Eaton will be recognized at the regent level and have a permanent position on the Channel Advantage Partnership Council, which will help select future educational programs and research projects.

For more information about contributing to the NAED Education & Research Foundation endowment, contact Bill Elliott, Channel Advantage Partnership Council chairman, at (936) 569-1184 or

NAED is the trade association for the $70+ billion electrical distribution industry. Through networking, education, research, and benchmarking, NAED helps electrical distributors increase profitability and improve the channel. NAED's membership represents approximately 4,100 locations internationally.

Cabling Business Magazine Deserves Special Recognition

The team at Cabling Business Magazine deserves special recognition for a constantly improving magazine. The new logo for CBM on the cover of the March 2005 issue is impressive and certainly captures the theme of this fine publication.

Hats Off to their crew of excellent writers. Lee Badman is always a hit. Carol Everett Oliver is on top of the issues and does some great case histories. This month's issue packed a real punch with the powerful article on Abandoned Cable by Betsy Ziobron.

Avoiding a Dangerous Journey

The potential dangers of exposed cabling in environmental air plenums are acute. To that end, action taken by NFPA in its 2002 edition of the National Electrical Code was a bold stroke for life safety.

By John Michlovic

In the past few years, much has been written about the potential dangers of exposed cabling in environmental air plenums.

The risks associated with the burning of combustible plastic coated cabling in ceiling or access floor plenums have been exposed in cabling and building construction magazines by a variety of industry experts. Although the evidence of a problem appears to be quite clear, the conclusions drawn by these industry reporters generally stop short of a condemnation of exposed cabling in these "concealed spaces". This article will attempt to summarize the evidence of a problem and "connect the dots" for those who have not read the evidence.

First, lets examine how combustible plastic coated cabling became Code acceptable. The standard that governs the types of acceptable materials in ceiling or access floor plenums is NFPA 90A -- Standard for the Installation of Air-Conditioning and Ventilating Systems. Since 1937, HVAC designers have used this for environmental air design issues. Prior to 1975 it required that all materials used in plenums be "non-combustible" or "limited combustible" with a maximum smoke developed rating of 50. Telecom cables meeting this requirement would be classified as "limited combustible".

Since environmental air (supply or return air) could eventually be breathed by the building's occupants, safe materials were required in the air stream so that in the event of a fire, dependence upon smoke dampers or smoke alarms to assure safety would not be paramount.

In 1975, the industry petitioned NFPA for relief from the stringent requirements of Standard 90A. Meetings were held to discuss the pros and cons of allowing cables of lesser fire and smoke performance to be exposed in plenums. Ultimately, NFPA agreed to allow combustible cables to be used -- intending the approval for limited use only (just a few cables). However, the limited use restriction was never written into the standard.

CMP cables (Communications Multipurpose Plenum) meeting a new less stringent criteria became the standard of the cabling industry from that time and designers, building owners and telecom specialists have used this fire retardant cable in unlimited amounts to solve their ever growing cabling demands.

Major issues regarding cable fire safety have been documented in research conducted in the USA and in Europe. Chemists and safety experts read the evidence with alarm, but designers and users are unaware of the dangers because the current cable constructions are "Code Approved".


What are the dangers of exposed combustible cables in plenums? Here's the downside if a fire occurs involving cables in a plenum:

  1. Fuel Load Combustible plastic insulation around the conductors in a typical 4 pr. twisted telecom cable weighs about 4.7 pounds per 1000 feet of cable. The fuel load or BTU content of certain types of plenum rated cable insulation, especially polyolefins, can rival that of gasoline. In heavily cabled plenums, it's like placing a gallon of gas within the plenum for every 10 to 30 feet of cable tray. The fuel load of CMP cable is 2.5 times the limit for the "limited combustible" cable described in the primary (pre-1975) requirements of NFPA90A.

  2. Smoke Developed Index The smoke developed by burning CMP plenum rated cable can be up to 17 times the level allowed for "limited combustible" cable in the pre 1975 NFPA Standard 90A.

  3. Toxic Gasses Burning plastics of any kind creates toxic gasses. In ceiling plenum fires these gasses will usually be diluted in the re-circulation system if smoke dampers do not exist or do not function. Under access floors, a cable fire can be more dangerous because the hot toxic gasses can exit anywhere and can be more concentrated than re-circulated and diluted gasses in re-circulated air. Also there is a higher probability that the gasses will exist within the breathing zone. One should not attempt to crawl out of an access floor fire; running is the preferred method.

  4. Flame Spread Fire retardant jackets on new cables will generally protect against ignition for at least ten minutes of exposure to a fire, depending upon its temperature. Flame spread or travel is limited to five feet in 20 minutes by NFPA Standard 262. Worn, heat aged, slit, or damaged jacketing that exposes cable insulation to a fire can ignite within minutes and spread flames more rapidly than the five feet in 20 minute criteria. Older cable of the latter type represents the bulk of existing cable, yet most testing of cables is performed on "new" cable with sound fire retardant jacketing. Thus, cable testing can seriously underestimate the actual danger of older cabling, since the cabling industry places no "time limit" on the fire safety or performance of its products.

  5. Unauthorized Cable Given the 2-1/2 times price differential between CMP plenum rated cable and non-rated CMG (Communications Multipurpose General) cable, it is highly likely that some CMG cable has been laid into plenum spaces, although it is not rated for plenum use. This scary scenario may occur in only rare cases, but when it does, it would create a fireman's nightmare if ignited. This non-fire retardant cable ignites quickly, burns like a candle, and creates large amounts of black sooty smoke. If interspersed with CMP cable, it can act as a fuse to ignite the cable bundle and spread flames quickly along its entire length.

The preponderance of evidence mounting over the years demonstrated an increasing life safety threat in environmental air plenums. The common practice of abandoning lesser performing cables in place and adding the next generation on top of the old was viewed as alarming by safety experts and code writers.

Something had to be done to reduce the threat of burning plastics in plenums. The action taken by NFPA in their 2002 edition of the National Electrical Code was a bold stroke for life safety. Abandoned Communications cables are no longer allowed to remain in plenums. This action by NFPA and the NEC would not have occurred except for the dangers outlined previously in this article. All involved parties should seriously pursue reduced fire loads in plenums through the removal of abandoned cable.

Although the fire safety record in office structures has improved over the years, there are still 16 office fires in the USA on an average day per the latest NFPA data available.

But, who will enforce such an expensive code requirement? Will cables be removed if covered by newer, higher performance cabling? Will cabling manufactures recommend a useful safe life for their products? If there is no limit on quantities of new plenum cabling, does the removal of abandoned cable have the intended positive impact?


The American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has for years been concerned about the use of combustible plastics in environmental air plenums. HVAC Designers were loath to accept unlimited plastic cabling in plenums. Smoke from burning cables creates a real problem in their designs.

In 1999, ASHRAE embarked upon a research project to study the problem and make recommendations to the industry. The study is entitled "Cable Fire in Plenums" and is underway at the National Research Council Canada by Dr. G.D. Lougheed. The stated objective of the study is "to evaluate the hazard to human life of computer and communication cable fires in air plenums above ceilings and develop information that can be input to performance test standards and codes" also to determine the maximum quantities of exposed cable that can be safely allowed in plenums.

Exposed cabling within plenums will remain a viable wire distribution method for the foreseeable future. For existing applications, a safer cable should be used to replace old CMP Cables . . . namely, "limited combustible" cable. This is the only cable of which I am aware that retains its fire retardancy indefinitely.

For new construction, designers should carefully consider the use of in-floor systems such as underfloor duct for on-grade use or a cellular floor system for elevated building levels. These systems provide the ultimate safety against cable fire and smoke problems by encapsulating cables in steel cells below a concrete fill. Underside fireproofing assures against cable outgassing for two to three hours.

For new construction projects that must incorporate plenum cabling, "limited combustible" cable is the safer alternative. CMP cable suppliers should be asked to supply "aged" cable fire tests to simulate the effects of heat aging, abrasion, and the degradation effects of plasticizer migration which can lead to cable jacket slitting. Consider the placement of smoke detection and sprinkler systems above the cable trays rather than just at ceiling level.

Smoke detectors should be mandatory below all access floors whether used for air delivery or not. This is the absolutely worst place for a smoky fire.

Also, don't allow cable tray to be mounted below or supported by un-fireproofed steel members especially not bar-joists; and don't allow fireproofing to be removed from beams or joists during the cable tray hanging process.

Above all, remove all abandoned cable from your plenum systems. It's simply fuel waiting for the next fire. Tagging it for future use will not make it safe; not even if you double tag it.

John Michlovic has worked in the wire distribution field since 1969 with H.H. Robertson Floor Systems of Ambridge, PA, a supplier of cellular floor raceway systems. He is a registered professional engineer and a member of NFPA and BICSI.

Common Sense Cabling Recommendations (and items you won't find in a building code)
  • Keep fuel away from ignition sources. All plastics are fuel and certain types compare to gasoline by weight. Electrical wire overheating can ignite plastics.

  • Toxic smoke kills people in a building fire (not heat or flame). Burning plastics create some of the most toxic gases known to man.

  • Keep fuel out of concealed spaces if possible.

  • Conduit, cells, and steel raceways are not concealed spaces; ceiling and access floor plenums are.

  • The hottest part of the flame is at the top. Where are you locating your combustible cables?

  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) gas can be produced at a temperature lower than that required to begin ignition.

  • Minimize materials that will produce toxic smoke in a fire, especially in plenums. The intent of NFPA 90A "Standard for the Installation of Air-Conditioning and Ventilating Systems" should be to keep this from does not.

  • Do not locate cable trays containing high fuel loads directly beneath horizontal structural members. Cable tray fires can produce temperatures exceeding 1400°F. Structural steel begins to weaken at less than 1000°F. Open web joists are most susceptible to collapse. Load Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) for steel members is less conservative than previous methods, producing lighter weight members.

  • Fire detection devices should be located above ceiling level if combustible materials are present. Plastic coated cables are combustible.

  • Fire suppression equipment should be located above the ceiling if combustible materials are present.

  • The latest NFPA statistics available at this writing reveal an office building fire every 90 minutes in the USA (5800 fires per year; 16 per day, 7 days a week).

  • There is no known limit to the number of ways a fire can start.
(Source: John Lebduska - Architect & Safety)

The Q-Floor/Taproute® System
HHRobertson Floor Systems, a CENTRIA company, manufactures the Q-Floor/Taproute® System - the premier cable management system for office buildings, libraries, schools and casinos.

Since its introduction in 1931 by the H.H. Robertson Company, the system has been constantly improved to provide customer benefits unmatched by any other method of horizontal cable distribution.

Hitachi Cable Manchester (HCM) Announces Joining With Affiliated Distributors

This partnership will provide AD customer members throughout Canada and the United States access to hundreds of HCM products. AD is headquartered in King of Prussia, PA, and maintains the largest network of electrical supply distributors in North America. With over 350 independent distributors in Canada and the US, the AD network consists of over 5,000 distributor locations. AD customer members in Canada and the US will now be able to choose from the complete line of HCM products. HCM, with its manufacturing facility in Manchester, New Hampshire, is a leader in the manufacture of premise and fiber optic communication cables. HCM's product line includes a wide selection of Category 3, 5e, and 6 twisted pair cable and singlemode and multimode fiber optic cables ranging from 2 fibers all the way up to 432 fibers. A complete listing of all HCM products can be found at our website,

NAED Recently Released "Warehouse Pro"

The Education & Research Foundation of the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) recently released Warehouse Pro, a detailed training workbook for all warehouse personnel in the electrical industry. This latest educational offering was developed to provide staff with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the warehouse environment and the industry as a whole.

"Training is key to any organization. The ideal warehouse professional is dependable, trustworthy, and accurate. Warehouse Pro shows employees why these qualities are important and how their position plays a pivotal role in their company's success," said Kim Wilborn, human resources manager for the Reynolds Company in Dallas, Texas. "In addition, the topics covered in this course such as warehouse operations, automation, and customer service are very relevant. In particular, learning about customer service is essential since it is the main function of warehouse professionals. They may not interact on a personal level with the external customer, but they ensure that clients receive the correct materials in the correct quantity when requested."

Warehouse Pro was designed with improved efficiencies in mind. Presented in 10 manageable sections, the course provides personnel with a deeper understanding of electrical distributor operations, their role as a warehouse pro, what to expect on the job, strategies for working more efficiently, and safety precautions. This course is appropriate for new employees who need a solid grounding in warehouse and distributor operations or as refresher program for experienced professionals. Employees can learn at their own pace with this self-study workbook or this course can be facilitated in a group setting.

"While all training is important, training for those employees who must keep the warehouse operating smoothly is particularly vital to a company. Getting the right product to the right customer in a timely manner is critical to a business's success. When members and affiliates invest in the future of their warehouse professionals, they are investing in the future of their company," said Michelle Jaworowski, vice president of NAED and executive director of NAED's Foundation.

Members and affiliates can purchase the Warehouse Pro Course for $99, with discounts offered on orders of six or more. Counter Pro, a similar training workbook developed in 2003 for counter sales staff, is also available from the Foundation. For additional information and to order, visit the "education" section of

Typoglycemia = proof readers madness!!!

Typoglycemia. Don't delete this because it looks weird. Believe it or not you can read it. I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt.

AFS Introduces its new line of Micro OTDR's

Advanced Fiber Solutions announced today their newest line of PC-based OTDR's. The uOR series micro OTDR's are the smallest fully functional line of PC-based OTDR's on the market today. The uOR-100 series multimode OTDR with a dynamic range of 26dB is ideally suited for the premise market while the uOR-200 series singlemode OTDR offers four versions with dynamic ranges from 31dB to 43dB for accurate measurements for long haul and outside plant applications. The uOR series ODTR operates with a USB interface, which eliminates the need for batteries and are offered at a starting price of less than $5,000 per unit.

Designed specifically for Fiber Optic Contractor's for field installation and service, this lightweight, handheld and inexpensive PC-based micro OTDR makes it easy to test your fiber link for breaks, splice loss, attenuation and distance using Advanced Fiber Solutions Windows 9x/NT//2000 and XP compatible software. The Software is capable of displaying, storing, reading, analyzing and printing several traces at the same time.

"The uOR series demonstrates Advanced Fiber Solutions commitment to providing fully functional, accurate, affordable and reliable fiber optic test equipment. We are pleased to offer our customers one of the most compact and fully functional PC-based Micro OTDR's on the market today." Says Garreth Conachy, President of Advanced Fiber Solutions.

Dr. Katsuhiko Okubo and Richard C. Smith to Join CommScope Board of Directors

CommScope, Inc. (NYSE: CTV - News), a world leader in cable and connectivity solutions for communications networks, today announced the expansion of the size of CommScope's Board of Directors from six to eight directors as well as the election of two new directors who will join CommScope's board on April 1, 2005. Katsuhiko (Kat) Okubo, PhD, a former executive of The Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd., and Richard (Dick) C. Smith, a former executive of Motorola, Inc., were elected at CommScope's Board of Directors meeting today.

"We are extremely pleased to name Kat Okubo and Dick Smith to our Board of Directors," said CommScope Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Frank Drendel. "They bring a wealth of knowledge to us and will further strengthen our board as we move forward as a global leader in telecommunications."

Dr. Okubo, President of Okubo Technology Management Inc., founded his company in October 2004 after serving The Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. for nearly 40 years. During his tenure with Furukawa, he held various positions in the areas of research and development, manufacturing and business development. From June 1999 until June 2004, Dr. Okubo served as a Corporate Director and a Corporate Senior/Executive Vice President of Furukawa, and was involved in the formation of OFS BrightWave, LLC, a joint venture between CommScope and Furukawa that was formed to operate certain fiber optic cable and transmission fiber assets acquired from Lucent Technologies Inc. Dr. Okubo is also the author of a highly regarded Japanese textbook on optical fiber technologies.

Mr. Smith has worked as a private consultant in the broadband industry since January 2005. From January 2000 to December 2004, he served as Corporate Vice President and Director of Business Development, Broadband Communications Sector of Motorola, Inc., a global communications company providing seamless mobility products and solutions across broadband, embedded systems and wireless networks. From 1983 to 2000, Mr. Smith held various executive positions with General Instrument Corporation, including Executive Vice President from 1998 to 2000, and Vice President, Taxes as well as Corporate Treasurer from 1991 to 1997. Mr. Smith currently serves on the Management Committee of Music Choice, a provider of music programming through digital cable and satellite TV systems, as well as the Internet.

CommScope is a world leader in the design and manufacture of 'last mile' cable and connectivity solutions for communication networks. Through our SYSTIMAX® Solutions and Uniprise(TM) brands we are the global leader in structured cabling systems for business enterprise applications. We are also the world's largest manufacturer of coaxial cable for Hybrid Fiber Coaxial (HFC) applications. Backed by strong research and development, CommScope combines technical expertise and proprietary technology with global manufacturing capability to provide customers with high-performance wired or wireless cabling solutions.

What's New @ NECA?

03-25-05 -- NECA, BICSI Begin Updating Joint Telecom Standard

03-28-05 -- Work has begun on the second edition of NECA/BICSI 568, Standard for Installing Commercial Building Telecommunication Cabling (ANSI). Publication of the updated standard is expected in spring of 2006.

Jointly developed by NECA and BICSI, the standard has been widely used by specifiers and customers as a guide to installing voice-date-video data networking systems. The current edition, NECA/BICSI 568-2001, is referenced three places in the 2005 National Electrical Code as a guide to quality installation practices for optical fiber cable and raceways, communications cabling and broadband cabling.

BICSI, the association for telecom installers, is best known for its RCDD (Registered Communications Distribution Designer) designation. NECA publishes a series of ANSI-approved construction practices known as the National Electrical Installation Standards (NEIS)®. NECA/BICSI 568 is one publication in the NEIS series.

Robert Jensen of Fluke Networks is chairing the joint standards project. "NECA/BICSI-568 is used in nearly all commercial building cabling specifications where safety and performance are paramount, so it's crucial that we keep the standard current," he observes. "It's time to update this one with the latest installation techniques for Category 6 cabling and laser-optimized fiber, as well as the safety requirements of the 2005 National Electrical Code."

NECA develops joint National Electrical Installation Standards with eight other expert groups, including The Aluminum Association, BICSI, Electrical Generating Systems Association (EGSA), Fiber Optic Association (FOA), Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), National Armored Cable Manufacturers Association (NACMA), and the Steel Tube Institute (STI).

General Cable Issues An Important Look At The State Of The Cabling Industry


Investing in our securities involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the following risk factors and other information contained herein before investing in our securities.

Risks Relating to Our Markets

Our net sales, net income and growth depend largely on the economies in the geographic markets that we serve and if these markets become weaker we could suffer decreased sales and net income.

Many of our customers use our products as components in their own products or in projects undertaken for their customers. Our ability to sell our products is largely dependent on general economic conditions, including how much our customers and end-users spend on information technology, new construction and building, maintaining or reconfiguring their communications network, industrial manufacturing assets and power transmission and distribution infrastructures. Over the past few years many companies have significantly reduced their capital equipment and information technology budgets, and construction activity that necessitates the building or modification of communication networks and power transmission and distribution infrastructures has slowed considerably as a result of a weakening of the U.S. and foreign economies. As a result, our net sales and financial results declined significantly in recent years. In 2004, we have seen an improvement in these markets; however, if they were to weaken, we could suffer decreased sales and net income and we could be required to effect further restructurings.

The markets for our products are highly competitive and if we fail to invest in product development, productivity improvements and customer service and support, the sale of our products could be adversely affected.

The markets for copper, aluminum and fiber optic wire and cable products are highly competitive, and some of our competitors may have greater financial resources than we do. We compete with at least one major competitor with respect to each of our business segments, although no single competitor competes with us across the entire spectrum of our product lines. Many of our products are made to common specifications and therefore may be fungible with competitors’ products. Accordingly, we are subject to competition in many markets on the basis of price, delivery time, customer service and our ability to meet specific customer needs.

We believe our competitors will continue to improve the design and performance of their products and to introduce new products with competitive price and performance characteristics. We expect that we will be required to continue to invest in product development, productivity improvements and customer service and support in order to compete in our markets. Furthermore, an increase in imports of products competitive with our products could adversely affect our sales.

Our business is subject to the economic and political risks of maintaining facilities and selling products in foreign countries.

During 2004, approximately 34% of our sales and approximately 41% of our assets were in markets outside North America. Our operations outside North America generated approximately $48.1 million of our cash flows from operations while the North American operations used $35.6 million of cash flows from operations. Our financial results may be adversely affected by significant fluctuations in the value of the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies or by the enactment of exchange controls or foreign governmental or regulatory restrictions on the transfer of funds. In addition, negative tax consequences relating to repatriating certain foreign currencies, particularly cash generated by our operations in Spain, may adversely affect our cash flows. The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 provides that US corporations can repatriate earnings of foreign subsidiaries at a reduced tax rate under certain circumstances. As of December 31, 2004 the undistributed earnings of foreign subsidiaries that are considered to be indefinitely reinvested are approximately $135 million. We are currently in the process of evaluating how much, if any, of these foreign earnings will be repatriated. We will determine the sources and amounts, if any, of the foreign earnings repatriation and the related tax expense prior to December 31, 2005. Furthermore, our foreign operations are subject to risks inherent in maintaining operations abroad, such as economic and political destabilization, international conflicts, restrictive actions by foreign governments, nationalizations, changes in regulatory requirements, the difficulty of effectively managing diverse global operations and adverse foreign tax laws. Changes in industry standards and regulatory requirements may adversely affect our business.

As a manufacturer and distributor of wire and cable products we are subject to a number of industry standard-setting authorities, such as Underwriters Laboratories, the Telecommunications Industry Association, the Electronics Industries Association and the Canadian Standards Association. In addition, many of our products are subject to the requirements of federal, state and local or foreign regulatory authorities. Changes in the standards and requirements imposed by such authorities could have an adverse effect on us. In the event we are unable to meet any such standards when adopted our business could be adversely affected. In addition, changes in the legislative environment could affect the growth and other aspects of important markets served by us. While certain legislative bills and regulatory rulings are being considered in the energy and telecommunications sectors which could improve our markets, any delay or failure to pass such legislation and regulatory rulings could adversely affect our opportunities and anticipated prospects may not arise. It is not possible at this time to predict the impact that any such legislation or regulation or failure to enact any such legislation or regulation, or other changes in laws or industry standards that may be adopted in the future, could have on our financial results, cash flows or financial position.

Advancing technologies, such as fiber optic and wireless technologies, may make some of our products less competitive.

Technological developments could have a material adverse effect on our business. For example, a significant decrease in the cost and complexity of installation of fiber optic systems or an increase in the cost of copper-based systems could make fiber optic systems superior on a price performance basis to copper systems and may have a material adverse effect on our business. While we do manufacture and sell fiber optic cables, any erosion of our sales of copper cables due to increased market demand for fiber optic cables would most likely not be offset by an increase in sales of our fiber optic cables. Also, advancing wireless technologies, as they relate to network and communication systems, may represent an alternative to certain copper cables we manufacture and reduce customer demand for premise wiring. If wireless technology were to significantly erode the markets for copper-based systems, our sales of copper premise cables could face downward pressure.

Risks Relating to Our Operations

Volatility in the price of copper and other raw materials, as well as fuel and energy, could adversely affect our businesses.

The costs of copper and aluminum, the most significant raw materials we use, have been subject to considerable volatility over the years. Volatility in the price of copper, aluminum, polyethylene and other raw materials, as well as fuel, natural gas and energy, will in turn lead to significant fluctuations in our cost of sales. Additionally, sharp increases in the price of copper can also reduce demand if customers decide to defer their purchases of copper wire and cable products or seek to purchase substitute products. Moreover, we do not engage in activities to hedge the underlying value of our copper and aluminum inventory. Although we attempt to reflect copper and other raw material price changes in the sale price of our products, there is no assurance that we can do so.

Interruptions of supplies from our key suppliers may affect our results of operations and financial performance.

Interruptions of supplies from our key suppliers could disrupt production or impact our ability to increase production and sales. During 2003, our copper rod mill plant produced approximately 62% of the copper rod used in our North American operations and two suppliers provided an aggregate of approximately 68% of our North American copper purchases. During the second quarter of 2004, the Company´s rod mill facility ceased operations. All copper rod used in our North American operations is now externally sourced; our largest supplier of copper accounted for 48% of our North American purchases in 2004. Any unanticipated problems with our copper rod suppliers could have a material adverse effect on our business. Additionally, we use a limited number of sources for most of the other raw materials that we do not produce. We do not have long-term or volume purchase agreements with most of our suppliers, and may have limited options in the short-term for alternative supply if these suppliers fail for any reason, including their business failure or financial difficulties, to continue the supply of materials or components. Moreover, identifying and accessing alternative sources may increase our costs.

Failure to negotiate extensions of our labor agreements as they expire may result in a disruption of our operations.

Approximately 60% of our employees are represented by various labor unions. During the last five years, we have experienced only two strikes, which were settled on satisfactory terms. Labor agreements expire at three facilities in 2005. We cannot predict what issues may be raised by the collective bargaining units representing our employees and, if raised, whether negotiations concerning such issues will be successfully concluded. A protracted work stoppage could result in a disruption of our operations which could adversely affect our ability to deliver certain products and our financial results. On March 21, 2005, union workers at the Company´s Lincoln, Rhode Island manufacturing facility commenced a strike. As of the date of this filing, the parties had not reached agreement on a new contract and therefore the union workers remained on strike. Both parties are continuing to work together to reach a new contract. The Company does not expect that the strike will have a significant impact on its financial results for the first quarter of 2005.

Our inability to continue to achieve productivity improvements may result in increased costs.

Part of our business strategy is to increase our profitability by lowering costs through improving our processes and productivity. In the event we are unable to continue to implement measures improving our manufacturing techniques and processes, we may not achieve desired efficiency or productivity levels and our manufacturing costs may increase. In addition, productivity increases are related in part to factory utilization rates. Our decreased utilization rates over the past few years have adversely impacted productivity.

We are substantially dependent upon distributors and retailers for non-exclusive sales of our products and they could cease purchasing our products at any time.

During 2004, approximately 35% of our domestic net sales were to independent distributors and three of our ten largest customers were distributors. Distributors accounted for a substantial portion of sales of our communications products and industrial & specialty products. During 2004, approximately 12% of our domestic net sales were to retailers and the two largest retailers, The Home Depot and AutoZone, accounted for approximately 2.7% and 2.2%, respectively, of our net sales.

These distributors and retailers are not contractually obligated to carry our product lines exclusively or for any period of time. Therefore, these distributors and retailers may purchase products that compete with our products or cease purchasing our products at any time. The loss of one or more large distributors or retailers could have a material adverse effect on our ability to bring our products to end-users and on our results of operations. Moreover, a downturn in the business of one or more large distributors or retailers could adversely affect our sales and could create significant credit exposure.

We face pricing pressures in each of our markets that could adversely affect our results of operations and financial performance.

We face pricing pressures in each of our markets as a result of significant competition or over-capacity, and price levels for most of our products have declined over the past few years. While we will work toward reducing our costs to respond to the pricing pressures that may continue, we may not be able to achieve proportionate reductions in costs. As a result of overcapacity and economic and industry downturn in the communications and industrial markets in particular, pricing pressures increased in 2002 and 2003. While we were generally successful in raising prices to recover increased raw material costs, pricing pressures continued into 2004, and are expected for the foreseeable future. Further declines in prices, without offsetting cost-reductions, would adversely affect our financial results.

Other Risks Relating to Our Business

Our substantial debt could adversely affect our business. We have a significant amount of debt. As of December 31, 2004, we had $374.9 million of debt outstanding, $89.9 million of which is secured indebtedness and none of which is subordinated to our senior notes, and had $126.0 million of additional borrowing capacity available under our senior secured revolving credit facility. In addition, subject to the terms of the indenture governing our senior notes, we may also incur additional indebtedness, including secured debt, in the future.

The degree to which we are leveraged could have important adverse consequences to us. For example, it could:

  • make it difficult for us to make payments on or otherwise satisfy our obligations with respect to our indebtedness;

  • limit our ability to borrow additional amounts for working capital, capital expenditures, potential acquisition opportunities and other purposes;

  • limit our ability to withstand competitive pressures and reduce our flexibility in responding to changing business, regulatory and economic conditions in our industry;

  • place us at a competitive disadvantage against our less leveraged competitors;

  • subject us to increased costs, to the extent of the portion of our indebtedness that is subject to floating interest rates and;

  • cause us to fail to comply with applicable debt covenants and could result in an event of default that could result in all of our indebtedness being immediately due and payable.
In addition, our ability to generate cash flow from operations sufficient to make scheduled payments on our debts as they become due will depend on our future performance, our ability to successfully implement our business strategy and our ability to obtain other financing.

If either of our uncommitted accounts payable or accounts receivable financing arrangements for our European operations is cancelled by our lenders, our liquidity will be negatively impacted.

Our European operation participates in arrangements with several European financial institutions which provide extended accounts payable terms to us. In general, the arrangements provide for accounts payable terms of up to 180 days. At December 31, 2004, the arrangements had a maximum availability limit of the equivalent of approximately $126 million, of which approximately $95 million was drawn. We do not have firm commitments from these European financial institutions requiring them to continue to extend credit and they may decline to advance additional funding. We also have an approximate $45 million uncommitted facility in Europe, which allows us to sell at a discount, with limited recourse, a portion of our accounts receivable to a financial institution. At December 31, 2004, this facility was not drawn upon. We do not have a firm commitment from this institution to purchase our accounts receivable. Should the availability under these arrangements be reduced or terminated, we would be required to negotiate longer payment terms with our suppliers or repay the outstanding obligations with our suppliers under these arrangements over 180 days and/or seek alternative financing arrangements which could increase our interest expense. We cannot assure you that such longer payment terms or alternate financing will be available on favorable terms or at all. Failure to obtain alternative financing arrangements in such case would negatively impact our liquidity.

In addition, in order to avoid an event of default under our senior secured credit facility, we must maintain foreign credit lines of at least the equivalent of $80.0 million during those periods when our average excess available funds under our senior secured credit facility is less than $100.0 million for a period of three consecutive months.

We may be required to take additional charges in connection with plant closures and may be required to take certain charges to our earnings in future periods in connection with our inventory accounting practices.

During 2004, we closed two industrial manufacturing locations, refocused operations at another industrial manufacturing location and ceased operations at our copper rod mill. We incurred net charges of $7.1 million ($4.7 million of which were cash) in 2004 related to these activities which are now complete. We continuously evaluate our ability to more efficiently utilize existing manufacturing capacity which may require additional future charges.

As a result of volatile copper prices, the replacement cost of our copper inventory exceeded its historic LIFO cost by approximately $38 million at December 31, 2004, and by approximately $13 million at December 31, 2003. If we were not able to recover the LIFO value of our inventory at a profit in some future period when replacement costs were lower than the LIFO value of the inventory, we would be required to take a charge to recognize in our income statement all or a portion of the higher LIFO value of the inventory. During 2002 and 2003, we recorded a $2.5 million and a $0.5 million charge, respectively, for the liquidation of LIFO inventory in North America as we significantly reduced our inventory levels. During 2004, we increased inventory quantities and therefore there was not a liquidation of LIFO inventory impact in this period. If LIFO inventory quantities are reduced in a future period when replacement costs exceed the LIFO value of the inventory, we would experience an increase in reported earnings. Conversely, if LIFO inventory quantities are reduced in a future period when replacement costs are lower than the LIFO value of the inventory, we would experience a decline in reported earnings.

We are subject to certain asbestos litigation and unexpected judgments or settlements could have a material adverse effect on our financial results.

There are approximately 16,400 pending non-maritime asbestos cases involving our subsidiaries. The majority of these cases involve plaintiffs alleging exposure to asbestos-containing cable manufactured by our predecessors. In addition to our subsidiaries, numerous other wire and cable manufacturers have been named as defendants in these cases. Our subsidiaries have also been named, along with numerous other product manufacturers, as defendants in approximately 33,200 suits in which plaintiffs alleged that they suffered an asbestos-related injury while working in the maritime industry. These cases are referred to as MARDOC cases and are currently managed under the supervision of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. On May l, 1996, the District Court ordered that all pending MARDOC cases be administratively dismissed without prejudice and the cases cannot be reinstated, except in certain circumstances involving specific proof of injury. We cannot assure you that any judgments or settlements of the pending non-maritime and/or MARDOC asbestos cases or any cases which may be filed in the future will not have a material adverse effect on our financial results, cash flows or financial position. Moreover, certain of our insurers may be financially unstable and in the event one or more of these insurers enter into insurance liquidation proceedings, we will be required to pay a larger portion of the costs incurred in connection with these cases.

Environmental liabilities could potentially adversely impact us and our affiliates. We are subject to federal, state, local and foreign environmental protection laws and regulations governing our operations and use, handling, disposal and remediation of hazardous substances currently or formerly used by us and our affiliates. A risk of environmental liability is inherent in our and our affiliates’ current and former manufacturing activities in the event of a release or discharge of a hazardous substance generated by us or our affiliates. Under certain environmental laws, we could be held jointly and severally responsible for the remediation of any hazardous substance contamination at our facilities and at third party waste disposal sites and could also be held liable for any consequences arising out of human exposure to such substances or other environmental damage. We and our affiliates have been named as potentially responsible parties in proceedings that involve environmental remediation. There can be no assurance that the costs of complying with environmental, health and safety laws and requirements in our current operations or the liabilities arising from past releases of, or exposure to, hazardous substances, will not result in future expenditures by us that could materially and adversely affect our financial results, cash flows or financial condition.

Growth through acquisition has been a significant part of our strategy and we may not be able to successfully identify, finance or integrate acquisitions.

Growth through acquisition has been, and is expected to continue to be, a significant part of our strategy. We regularly evaluate possible acquisition candidates. We cannot assure you that we will be successful in identifying, financing and closing acquisitions at favorable prices and terms. Potential acquisitions may require us to issue additional shares of stock or obtain additional or new financing, and such financing may not be available on terms acceptable to us, or at all. The issuance of our common or preferred shares may dilute the value of shares held by our equityholders. Further, we cannot assure you that we will be successful in integrating any such acquisitions that are completed. Integration of any such acquisitions may require substantial management, financial and other resources and may pose risks with respect to production, customer service and market share of existing operations. In addition, we may acquire businesses that are subject to technological or competitive risks, and we may not be able to realize the benefits expected from such acquisitions.

Terrorist attacks and other attacks or acts of war may adversely affect the markets in which we operate our operations and our profitability.

The attacks of September 11, 2001 and subsequent events, including the military action in Iraq, have caused and may continue to cause instability in our markets and have led and may continue to lead to, further armed hostilities or further acts of terrorism worldwide, which could cause further disruption in our markets. Acts of terrorism may impact any or all of our facilities and operations, or those of our customers or suppliers and may further limit or delay purchasing decisions of our customers. Depending on their magnitude, acts of terrorism or war could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial results, cash flows and financial position.

We carry insurance coverage on our facilities of types and in amounts that we believe are in line with coverage customarily obtained by owners of similar properties. We continue to monitor the state of the insurance market in general and the scope and cost of coverage for acts of terrorism in particular, but we cannot anticipate what coverage will be available on commercially reasonable terms in future policy years. Currently, we do not carry terrorism insurance coverage. If we experience a loss that is uninsured or that exceeds policy limits, we could lose the capital invested in the damaged facilities, as well as the anticipated future net sales from those facilities. Depending on the specific circumstances of each affected facility, it is possible that we could be liable for indebtedness or other obligations related to the facility. Any such loss could materially and adversely affect our business, financial results, cash flows and financial position.

If we fail to retain our key employees, our business may be harmed. Our success has been largely dependent on the skills, experience and efforts of our key employees, and the loss of the services of any of our executive officers or other key employees could have an adverse effect on us. The loss of our key employees who have intimate knowledge of our manufacturing process could lead to increased competition to the extent that those employees are able to recreate our manufacturing process. Our future success will also depend in part upon our continuing ability to attract and retain highly qualified personnel, who are in great demand.

Declining returns in the investment portfolio of our defined benefit plans have increased the volatility in our pension expense and required us to increase cash contributions to the plans.

Pension expense for the defined benefit pension plans sponsored by us is determined based upon a number of actuarial assumptions, including an expected long-term rate of return on assets and discount rate. During the fourth quarter of 2002, as a result of declining returns in the investment portfolio of our defined benefit pension plans, we were required to record a minimum pension liability equal to the underfunded status of our plans. As of December 31, 2003, the defined benefit plans were underfunded by approximately $40 million based on the actuarial methods and assumptions utilized for purposes of FAS 87. During 2004, investment performance improved and as a result, the defined benefit plans were underfunded by approximately $33.0 million at December 31, 2004. We have experienced volatility in our pension expense and an increase in our cash contributions to our defined benefit pension plan. Pension expense for our defined benefit plans decreased from $8.4 million in 2003 to $5.5 million in 2004 and our required cash contributions increased to $13.0 million in 2004 from $6.1 million in 2003. In 2005, pension expense for our defined benefit plans is expected to decrease approximately $0.7 million from 2004, primarily due to improved investment performance during 2004 in the market value of assets held and cash contributions are expected to decrease to $2.2 million. In the event that actual results differ from the actuarial assumptions, the funded status of our defined benefit plans may change and any such deficiency could result in additional charges to equity and an increase in future pension expense and cash contributions.

An ownership change could result in a limitation of the use of our net operating losses.

As of December 31, 2004, we had net operating loss, or NOL, carryforwards of approximately $203 million available to reduce taxable income in future years. Specifically, we generated NOL carryforwards of approximately $149 million between 2000 and 2004. These NOL carryforwards will not begin to expire until 2020. We also have other NOL carryforwards that are subject to an annual limitation under section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code. These section 382 limited NOL carryforwards expire in varying amounts from 2006 to 2009. The total section 382 limited NOL carryforwards that may be utilized prior to expiration is estimated at approximately $54 million.

McCormick's New Software Wins 'Best In Show' Award

Version 8.0, the new upgrade from McCormick Systems, was honored with a "ShowStopper" award - as one of the 25 best new product introductions at the 2004 NECA Show.

"We're especially proud to be the only estimating software vendor to win the ShowStopper from the 2004 NECA Show," said Todd McCormick, president. "This is meaningful to our company. We won our first award in 1981, just two years after McCormick Systems was founded.

"Now, in our 26th year, we've won #9."

No other company - whether it supplies software for electrical contractors or products for electrical or datacom installation - has won nine of these awards.

V8.0 upgrades all of McCormick's electrical estimating products, including software that works on desktop, laptop, handheld, and tablet computers. It's the state-of-the-art in electrical estimating software, integrating seamlessly with AutoCAD (via McCormick's CAD Estimating module) and offering options of on-site field estimating and remote time-and-material billing.

Privately owned McCormick Systems (, of Chandler, Ariz., is the nation's leader in estimating software. Contractors use it to produce consistent, profitable estimates for electrical and voice-data-video work.

Fluke Networks Announces Programs For Spring 2005 BISCI

EVERETT, Washington -Fluke Networks' announced today its sponsored events for the Spring 2005 Building Industry Consulting Service International (BICSI) convention in Las Vegas. The company will be showcasing its premier cable testing solutions at the Mirage Hotel and Casino, May 1-5. The company's display, located at exhibition tables #515/517, will feature hands-on demonstrations of the Fluke Networks' products and solutions.

The company is hosting a free luncheon on May 3 to demonstrate how OTDR technology can help identify infrastructure problems and increase the quality of fiber installations. Guests will learn from Fluke Networks Product Manager Ted Thwing why they should use an OTDR, how an OTDR is used and get a glimpse into two-tier testing using Fluke Networks OptiFiber Certifying OTDR, a multi-function fiber tester. Luncheon attendees will be automatically entered in a drawing to win one of three prizes. The luncheon will be held 12:00 - 1:15pm in Grand Ballrooms D&E.

Fluke Networks' Mark Johnston will present "Testing-Testing-New Alternatives?" on May 4, 1:30pm - 2:30pm, as part of the BICSI general session. Room location will be announced in the show guide. Johnston will examine the latest issues affecting testing of structured cabling systems and show which classes of tools are best suited to different testing applications.

Johnston explains, "Many people thought that when category 6 cable was implemented we could all catch our collective breath for a while. Not so! Not only is category 6a cable a hot topic, but so are concerns about voice over Internet protocol, power over Ethernet, and alien crosstalk."

In addition to the luncheon and presentation, Fluke Networks will hold a give-away promotion for its DTX-1800 CableAnalyzer. After visiting the Fluke Networks display for a DTX demonstration and stopping by the Harris booth (#519) and two of Fluke Networks' connectivity partners' booths, guests can enter to win a DTX-1800 CableAnalyzer, approximate retail value $7,700 USD. Connectivity partners attending the event include Quabbin, Systimax Solutions, ADC, Hubbell, Leviton, Siemon, AMP and NetConnect. Punch card entries for the promotion will be available at the Fluke Networks display.

Registered (full-conference) BICSI attendees can attend the Testing presentation. Seating for Fluke Networks luncheon is open to the first 200 attendees. For more information about the Spring 2005 BICSI conference, visit

NVT Introduces Full RJ45 Connectivity

Active and Passive Video Transmission Products with RJ45 Connectivity

MENLO PARK, CALIF. - March 8, 2005 - Network Video Technologies (NVT) today announced that it has introduced a full range of video transmission products featuring RJ45 connectivity, designed specifically for installers experienced with structured cabling systems. NVT's UTP transceivers allow the use of new or existing unshielded twisted pair wire (UTP), letting end-users and installers deliver a high quality picture while cutting costs and simplifying installation.

"In most video transmission applications, coaxial cable is more difficult to install, resulting in higher labor charges. More and more, we were running into installers who wanted a 568B standards-based connectivity solution.

They recognized the importance of reduced installation time and a fully-prepared cable plant for future digital systems," emphasizes Guy Apple, Vice President of Network Video Technologies (NVT).

NVT now offers 4-, 8-, 16- and 32-channel rack-mountable units with RJ45 video inputs for passive-to-passive multi-channel applications under 750 feet and passive-to-active multi-channel applications up to 3000 feet. The 8- and 16-channel active hubs also feature a built-in DA output, with quad or dual outputs per channel (respectively). As a result, the new 1U tall, DA receiver hubs use rack-mount space more efficiently and enable easier integration into head-end systems, yielding savings on the equipment and installation time over standalone DAs.

"These new NVT transceivers are fully compatible with DVR technology and provide fully adjustable HF and LF gain controls," adds Apple. "They are compatible with 568B premise wiring standards, allowing easy future migration to an all-digital solution."

NVT will exhibit the new RJ45 solutions at the ISC West Exposition, Booth 16085, in Las Vegas, April 6-8.


Outside of the security industry for the past 20-plus years, the telecommunications and data communications industries were responding to market needs with extremely different cabling standards. Token Ring ran on 150 ohm Shielded Twisted Pair, 3270 ran on RG-62 coax, and Ethernet ran on RG-58 coax. Telephone signals were transmitted on quad wire or 100 ohm unshielded twisted pair.

All of these separate cabling standards added up to one big headache for installers and end-users. As more and more systems were installed, the mess grew larger and more out of control. There was no common wiring, bulky coax seemed to exist everywhere, and there was no way to organize and manage all of it.

The result of all this chaos was a common cabling system standard that would accommodate all applications in datacom and telecom. That standard is now known as the EIA/TIA-568B.

Distributed Power-Video-Data for CCTV Applications

There are a number of suppliers of UTP-based CCTV solutions and this type of video transmission technology is now firmly rooted as a transmission option between coax and fiber. In an effort to supply the end-user with an open system cabling solution, we have recently released what we call the PVD (Power-Video-Data) product range.

This PVD range of products lets low-voltage power, CCTV video, and Pan/Tilt/Zoom telemetry (data) share a 4-pair UTP cable out to the camera while leveraging the positive aspects of a structured cabling network architecture. All models feature RJ-45 connectors.

The products' RJ-45 wiring pin outs are compatible with the datacom and telecom industry standard EIA/TIA-568B, so termination mistakes are minimized. Additionally, with the exception of 24 VAC, these signals may share the same wiring backbone as other signals, such as telecom and datacom.

BellSouth Florida President To Retire

The president of BellSouth's Florida operations will retire on May 15 after 15 years leading operations for the largest telecommunications provider in the state.

Atlanta-based BellSouth, which provides voice and data services in Northeast Florida, said Joe Lacher's departure follows a 38-year career in the telecommunications industry. Marshall Criser III, vice president of regulatory and external affairs for BellSouth in Florida, is to succeed Lacher.

"Joe provided great leadership during a time of transformation in the communications industry," said Duane Ackerman, BellSouth (NYSE: BLS) chairman and CEO. "In a market filled with new technology and competition, Joe maintained a focus on serving our customers and our communities."

Lacher, a Florida native, began his career in 1967 as a management assistant for what was then known as Southern Bell in Charlotte, N.C. After holding various positions, he transferred in 1975 to AT&T's corporate headquarters in New York.

Following his return to Southern Bell in 1978, Lacher held positions of increasing responsibility in Atlanta and Florida. In 1984, he became secretary/assistant treasurer of Southern Bell and, in 1988, moved on to be vice president of Southern Bell's North Carolina operations.

In 1990, Lacher returned to Florida as head of Southern Bell's Florida operations. Gov. Jeb Bush appointed Lacher to serve as vice chairman of the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund to help Floridians rebuild after last year's hurricane season.

National Electrical Code Committee

Bethesda, MD - National Electrical Contractor Association member Scott Cline has been named chairman of National Electrical Code-Making Panel 6 (CMP-6). A principal in McMurtrey Electric Inc. of Monterey Park, California, Cline serves on NECA's Codes and Standards Committee, and has extensive NEC experience. Since 1997, he has previously served on CMP-10, CMP-12, and CMP-20. Code-Making Panel 6 develops rules governing the selection, use and installation of conductors and flexible cords. Several of the most widely-used tables in the National Electrical Code come under its jurisdiction, including Tables 310.13, 310.16, and 310.17.

NECA members chair six of the 19 N.E. Code-Making Panels, more than any other organization. "It's a tribute to the fact that our electrical contractors are recognized as impartial safety experts," said Brooke Stauffer, executive director of standards and safety at NECA. "Unlike some other interests that participate in the NEC process, we don't have a commercial axe to grind. NECA contractors install every Code wiring method at some point in their work, and they are viewed by the industry as the 'white hats,' in terms of safety."

Cline recently received the prestigious Allen KnickKrehm Award from the Los Angeles Chapter of NECA, for outstanding service in the area of codes and standards. He will soon compete in his twentieth Los Angeles Marathon.

The National Electrical Contractors Association is the voice of the $100 billion industry responsible for bringing lighting, power, and communications to buildings and communities across the United States. NECA's national office and 120 local chapters advance the electrical contracting industry through advocacy, education, research, and standards development. NECA celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2001.

Anixter Announces The 2005 Seminar Series

Anixter is pleased to announce that we will be launching our 2005 National Seminar Series with IBM this year. Designing and Managing Today's Data Center will be conducted in 16 cities across the US and Canada between April and November of 2005. Seminar presentations will address the design, build, and maintenance of a 21st century data center, and will offer insight into the latest products, solutions and services that are available. In addition, Anixter's featured manufacturers (including both security and enterprise cabling systems manufacturers) and IBM will be on hand to answer any questions attendees may have regarding data centers. These seminars are open to anyone interested in learning the latest products, technology, and designs being deployed in a data center. IT Managers, Facility Directors, IS/LAN Managers, Architects, Consultants, Engineers and others involved in data center management are invited to participate.

NECA Cares

Helping Today and Tomorrow

At this time, tsunami relief organizers agree that the best way to support the recovery effort is through online monetary donations. These donations will help meet immediate needs in the devastated areas - preventing further deaths from disease; providing water, food, and shelter to survivors; reuniting families; and recovering the remains of those whose lives were lost. As more is learned about the extent of the devastation and emerging needs, we will post additional information here.

Habitat for Humanity International
Many NECA members have worked with their local Habitat for Humanity to build houses for poor families. Habitat for Humanity International will help those displaced or affected by the disaster and build more houses in areas where there are now even more families in need of safe and decent shelter.

Oxfam International
This international charity offers donations of Supplies that Save Lives, where you have the option of purchasing food, shelter or sanitation materials specifically for tsunami victims and aid workers.

Save the Children
Donations to this worldwide organization will help meet the nutrition, public health, water and sanitation, shelter and protection needs of children and their families throughout the affected region, with an initial focus on Indonesia and coastal areas of Sri Lanka and India.

In the weeks following the disaster, UNICEF is turning its focus to the longer-range project of restoring normalcy to the lives of children. As each of UNICEF's Country Offices have their own annual budget to cover their overhead costs, your donation can go solely to the relief effort.

Both UNICEF and Save the Children have Frequently Asked Questions describing their tsunami aid efforts in detail. The American Red Cross is also accepting donations through its International Response Fund to support relief efforts in South Asia.

CommScope Announces Xflex(TM), the Next Generation Aluminum Cable for
Improved Wireless Network Performance

CommScope, Inc., (NYSE: CTV - News) a world leader in cable and connectivity solutions for communication networks, today announced the development and introduction of the next generation cable design for its Wireless Transmission Line System. Xflex(TM) is an evolutionary step forward in 50-ohm aluminum cable design and offers carriers superior performance, reliability and lower life cycle costs over the life of a wireless network compared to traditional corrugated cable systems.

"We believe the new Xflex provides the highest performance levels and reliability in the industry even when tested under extreme conditions," said Ted Hally, Executive Vice President and General Manager of CommScope Wireless and Carrier Solutions. "Xflex is another example of how CommScope gives our customers cable alternatives that benefit their network performance and reliability through lower life cycle costs, innovative design and better technology.

"Now that Extremeflex(TM) aluminum cable is achieving acceptance in the wireless market, CommScope is introducing Xflex, which is the next generation of aluminum cable," Hally explained. "For over 30 years, Multiple System Operators in the cable TV broadband markets have enjoyed the performance, flexibility and long-term reliability of aluminum coaxial cable systems. In a 50-ohm cable world dominated by copper coaxial cable systems, Xflex offers operators a proven choice to conventional copper systems."

Xflex aluminum smooth wall foam dielectric cables are available in 1/2", 7/8" and 1-1/4" sizes. Based on published specifications, the Company believes Xflex will provide an 11% improvement in system attenuation compared to a typical 1-1/4" copper corrugated application, and a 9% improvement in system attenuation compared to a typical 7/8" copper corrugated application. In addition, Xflex cables are fully backward compatible with CommScope's complete line of wireless system connectors, tools and hardware accessories.

EWG to Panel: Beware of Inappropriate DuPont Influence Attempts

In a letter to the EPA's Scientific Advisory Board studying the toxic effects of the Teflon chemical, PFOA, EWG warns of Dupont's inappropriate attempts to influence the Board's decision by submitting late comments and asking the panel to wait for new research favorable to DuPont.

EWG Letter to EPA (PDF)     CBC Marketplace Investigates

General Cable Reaches Agreement With Lincoln, Rhode Island Union

General Cable Corporation (NYSE:BGC - News) announced today that it has reached a 4 year agreement with Local Union No. 4543 of the United Steelworkers of America (USWA). The Local Union, which represents 180 production and maintenance workers at the Company's Lincoln, Rhode Island facility, voted to ratify the agreement on Saturday, April 2. The union members will return to work today.

"We are happy that an agreement could be reached quickly," said Greg Lampert, Vice President and General Manager at General Cable. "The agreement meets the strategic and financial needs of the Company, particularly with respect to healthcare coverage and employee contributions, while also providing a fair wage and benefits package for our Lincoln hourly associates."

General Cable, headquartered in Highland Heights, Kentucky, is a leader in the development, design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of copper, aluminum and fiber optic wire and cable products for the energy, industrial, specialty and communications markets. Visit our website at

Rugged Toolbags for Ultimate Organization

VETO PRO PAC, a leading manufacturer of quality tool bags, known for their unique patented fixed-center panel, which keeps tools upright for better organization, offers three designs, depending on the jobsite requirements. The full-line includes the original Model XL, which holds over 100 hand tools of varying sizes, Model XXL-F designed for longer, larger tools and the new Model LC, designed as a job-specific bag, such as for cable or electrical contractors. Designed by a 25-year construction veteran, the bags easily organize tools vertically on multi-levels to keep everything visible and easily accessible. This saves time on the jobsite, which increases profitability for the contractor. These are constructed of 1800 denier fabric with a 3 mm polypropylene base making them durable in the field. The over-molded ergonomic grip and shoulder strap are designed for comfort while transporting. Suggested retail: starting at $99.95 includes a five-year limited warranty.

NVT Hires Western Region Datacom and Telecom Sales Manager

MENLO PARK, CALIF. - March 2, 2005 - Network Video Technologies (NVT) announced today that George Wojtan has joined its sales force as Western Region Datacom and Telecom Sales Manager. George has held various key posts within the datacom/telecom space including being a partner with Cabling Technology Sales, Inc. (a manufacturer's representative firm), director of the enterprise market for Communication Supply Corporation and vice president major accounts for Ortronics, Inc.

"George Wojtan is a key member of a sales management and vertical market team that is primarily focused towards data communications and telecommunications networking managers and installers," reports Guy Apple, NVT vice president of marketing and sales. "There are a number of suppliers of UTP-based CCTV solutions and this type of video transmission technology is now firmly rooted as a transmission option between coax and fiber. In an effort to supply the end-user with an open system cabling solution, we have recently released what we call the PVD (Power-Video-Data) product range."

NVT's PVD range of products lets low-voltage power, CCTV video, and Pan/Tilt/Zoom telemetry (data) share a 4-pair UTP cable out to the camera while leveraging the positive aspects of a structured cabling network architecture. All models feature RJ-45 connectors.

The products' RJ-45 wiring pin outs are compatible with the datacom and telecom industry standard EIA/TIA-568B, so termination mistakes are minimized. Additionally, with the exception of 24VAC, these signals may share the same wiring backbone as other signals, such as telecom and datacom.


The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) announces a $100,000 commitment by Mayer Electric Supply Company, Inc. of Birmingham, Ala., to the NAED Education & Research Foundation.

"For as long as I can remember, Mayer has always focused on the fact that we will differentiate ourselves in the marketplace based on the quality of our associates and how well they are trained. It is fitting in the year of our 75th Anniversary that we recognize just how valuable the work of the NAED Education & Research Foundation will be in helping us to achieve this goal," said Jim Summerlin, president and CEO of Mayer.

Mayer Electric Supply Company, Inc., founded in 1930, is a wholesale distributor of electrical supplies and equipment, lighting tools and factory automation. With headquarters in Birmingham, Ala., Mayer has 850 employees and 53 locations throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Mayer is one of the largest electrical distributors in the United States with annual sales of over $400 million.

"Mayer Electric has produced two chairmen of NAED, Charles Collat Sr. and Jim Summerlin. They continue that tradition of leadership by contributing to the future of our industry with this gift. We appreciate their generous support and the guidance they will provide as a member of the Channel Advantage Partnership Council," said Bill Elliott, chairman of the Channel Advantage Partnership and president of Elliott Electric Supply in Nacogdoches, Texas.

The company's donation will become part of an endowment fund for the NAED Education & Research Foundation. The principal amount of the endowment will remain untouched, while the interest will be used to commission future projects and studies. As a $100,000 donor, Mayer will have a permanent position on the Channel Advantage Partnership Council, which will help select future educational programs and research projects.

Electrical Contracting Foundation Goes Public with Research to Protect Line Workers

The Electrical Contracting Foundation (ECF) recently held a workshop in Phoenix to publicize its early research into methods for safeguarding workers on the ground from electric shock hazards during powerline construction and maintenance. The February 17 workshop was attended by major line constructors, electric utilities, and industry organizations including the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The ECF Transmission and Distribution Worksite Shock Protection project is focusing on the benefits of establishing equipotential zones at overhead line work sites, to protect against line-to-ground faults, in conjunction with grounding, isolation (barricading), and insulation techniques. A powered model of distribution poles and conductors used for safety training of line workers was used at the workshop to illustrate equip potential jumper configurations.

Scope of Research Project

The Foundation research project began in 2004 and is expected to conclude in 2006, with development of an ANSI-approved industry standard defining best practices for protecting ground workers performing construction and maintenance work on electric transmission and distribution systems. Because protective techniques for workers aloft on transmission structures (poles) and in bucket trucks are better understood, these aren't within the scope of the current ECF research effort. Likewise, this research will only deal with protecting ground workers from the electric shock hazards of overhead line work. Underground T&D construction presents different safety challenges and will not be directly addressed. However, the current study is expected to yield results that may be applicable to high-voltage construction and maintenance work in power plant yards, substations, and industrial installations. Field testing on electrical hazards and mitigation techniques will begin next month at a Kansas City Power & Light facility. Testing is planned for a number of locations around the country because varying soil conditions, customary work practices, climate conditions, and utility power system configurations around the country affect the degree of primary shock hazard to ground workers. "I received a lot of good input from the workshop participants regarding the computer analyses and field testing we're performing this year," said principal researcher Thomas E. Glavinich, D.E., P.E., of the Department Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering the University of Kansas. "We had a number of top safety professionals from contracting firms, utilities, and other industry organizations."

Foundation Research May Influence OSHA There are close ties between this Electrical Contracting Foundation (ECF) research project and another major line industry safety initiative, the OSHA Transmission and Distribution Strategic Safety Partnership. NECA is involved in both efforts, along with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, major line constructors, and other stakeholders. Accident data generated by the OSHA Partnership will be used in the ECF research project. Shock protection techniques developed by the Transmission and Distribution Worksite Shock Protection research may be incorporated into the safety "best practices "being developed by the OSHA Partnership for use in line construction operations. "It's been very rewarding working on this Electrical Contracting Foundation research project," commented James F. Christensen, corporate director of safety and training at PAR Electrical Contractors Inc. in Kansas City. > "> It has attracted some of the best safety field personnel, professionals and academics in the industry." 1988, is the primary research arm of the electrical construction industry. Foundation research projects are intended to improve the productivity, professionalism, and competitiveness of electrical contractors.

More news on the expanding facts about TOXIC TEFLON

Could everyday consumer products be introducing a chemical into our homes? Marketplace unravels a mystery with an investigation into a Teflon chemical called PFOA. It's used in the production of common consumer products; it takes years to break down - and it's showing up in our blood.

Yes, PFOA is used to make the Teflon® FEP that is used to make CMP Plenum Cable. Read this story.

DYMO Industrial Hires Assistant Marketing Manager

Mike Zolot hired as Assistant Marketing Manager for DYMO's Industrial Business Unit

DYMO Industrial proudly announces that Mike Zolot has joined their team as the Assistant Marketing Manager. In this role, Mike will have responsibility for developing and managing marketing programs for the RhinoPRO range of Industrial Labeling Tools in the USA.

"RhinoPRO Label Printers are excellent products that offer superior value to installers, contractors and other end users that need heavy duty labeling solutions at an affordable price. I'm anxious to build on the excitement and brand awareness that DYMO Industrial has created with their marketing programs over the past 18 months", said Mike Zolot.

"The Industrial Business Unit at DYMO is committed to building a world class organization. Mike's marketing experience at YES, Inc, an agency which managed promotions for brands such as Best Buy®, Dole® and PepsiCo® will be a valuable asset to our team", said Ernie Racenet, Global Director, Industrial Business Unit, DYMO Corporation.

Mohawk Announces GigaLAN 10 For High-Speed Performance To The Desktop

Mohawk, a division of Belden CDT, (4-5-2005) released GigaLAN 10 to deliver 10 GbE to the desktop to meet increasing bandwidth requirements for evolving applications such as enterprise data centers.

GigaLAN 10 meets the proposed Augmented Category 6 New Class E specifications, which will become TIA/EIA-568-B.2-10 to support the operation of 10GBase-T over 100 meters.

Transmission will employ full-duplex (transmitting and receiving simultaneously) over all four-pairs for a data rate of 2.5 Gb/s per twisted pair and extend the frequency characterization of existing Category 6 cabling requirements to 500 MHz.

"GigaLAN 10 cables utilize Mohawk's FlexWeb technology which isolates the cable pairs and has outstanding pair-to-pair balance for superior headroom," said Greg Niemiera, manager of technical sales and marketing with Mohawk.

"This product also incorporates a unique jacket design for reduced alien crosstalk. Alien crosstalk is the main concern with 10 Gigabit Ethernet copper cable performance."

Superior Modular Products Partners with IES to Implement Lean Manufacturing

Superior Modular Products, a manufacturer of telecommunication products, is embracing lean manufacturing in a big way, and their early successful results are adding fuel to their desire to incorporate lean into every production line in their 55,000-square-foot facility in Swannanoa, NC.

"I just want to move forward quickly so that our whole plant can be involved in our lean journey," commented Linda Fouts, Director of Operations at Superior. " Our results are impressive, productivity and efficiency are way up in these areas, and our team members are enthusiastic and eager to learn more."

The Company's lean journey began in June 2003 when Dennis McKenna, Vice President of Global Business Development began sending updates on the lean program from other divisions with a list of books to read on lean to Fouts. With encouragement from McKenna and a visit to the local Eaton Cutler-Hammer facility, AB Tech, NC State, and some private consultants were contacted to review the training available. NC State was selected because they could not only provide training but assist in some of the kaizen events teaching not only the theory of lean but very practical applications. With the help of the Mountain Area Workforce Development Board, Superior received the Incumbent Workforce Grant helping provide the training from NC State.

In February 2004, IES delivery specialists conducted a lean 100 course at the plant, followed in March by an initial value stream mapping course. They conducted their first lean activity (a five-day process) soon after. Team members created a work cell in their Cat 6 module assembly area, moving from a batch process to flow, and reducing the number of operators needed from 10 to 6. They also reduced floor space required by 60%, and implemented visual indicators that improve communications and expose problems quickly.

Based on the success of this first focused activity, a second activity last May facilitated by IES professionals focused in the fiber cable assembly area. In this area, operators build fiber cable assemblies. During this four-day activity, implementing lean processes increased efficiency by 30%. The team worked with the employees in this area to help them move from batch work to a single bundle flow. A major factor in achieving these results was changing the physical layout of the work stations to improve flow and reduce physical steps taken to complete each product. The work stations that previously flowed around the room were arranged into two "U" shape cells. Materials stored at point of use eliminated a lot of travel and counting by the stockroom.

The fiber cable assembly area has been operating in its new lean configuration for about six months now. While the operators continue to fine tune their visual system, efficiency continues to improve and work flows smoothly. "We're continuing to train our operators in continuous flow, and I see a big improvement," explained Tammy Cutshall, Superior Modular's Team Leader, Fiber Lab. "I love the new layout, everything has its place, and there's not nearly as much walking now."

The fiber lab area will soon be relocated with the fiber box area to bring all the fiber production into one contiguous floor arrangement during another lean event. This new physical layout will further improve work flow, reduce waste, and reduce physical steps.

"Using these practical applications is the most valuable teaching method for our teams," explained Fouts. "And the most rewarding part is that our operators are coming up with more ideas, and people are asking when we're going to come to their areas. Delane Taylor and Chris McGraw (IES staff members) are dedicated professionals and they really care. They are making a big difference here."

Superior Modular is continuing to implement lean methods in other areas, completing an additional lean activity on their own in the jack assembly area. This three-day event resulted in decreasing the number of employees needed on this line from 14 to nine, while increasing efficiency by 70%.

"This team did a really great job," said Delane Taylor, IES Delivery Specialist. "They started with a value stream map that helped drive their decisions, and followed the steps they had learned from previous lean activities."

Another lean activity took place in the panel line area last August with equally impressive results-floor space needed was reduced by 70% while more than doubling available capacity. Work in process was reduced from days to single piece flow. After a couple of weeks, the seven-member team completed their evaluation of the new physical layout and are developing standardized work documents. Three months later, they are still making continuous improvements, exceeding their original production goals by almost 30%. Efficiency has increased by 24%.

Barbara Hunt was a team member on this lean activity, and thoroughly enjoyed the process. "I received a good education by participating in this event, and I see how the work flows faster with better quality. We had way too much material, and by cleaning up the mess and clutter, we stopped fighting ourselves and reduced stress. Now we can easily identify problems and correct them."

In November, a five-member team conducted a three-day lean event in the fiber box area, working with Delane Taylor, IES lean facilitator. This area is where fiber cabinets are assembled, adding components such as grommets, kits to hold the fiber in place, and adding ties, labels, and door latches. The goals were to reduce physical steps and reduce floor space needed by 25-30%.

"We changed the physical layout from people walking around several long tables, back and forth all day long, to two people working in a L-shaped configuration, developing standard work for each of two cells. We are dramatically improving output," said Fouts.

The results of this event include a reduction in labor required by 25% and an improvement in efficiency of 24%.

The November event will be the last IES facilitated event for awhile, but Superior Modular will continue their lean journey, and they are fortunate that their General Manager, Bill Reynolds and corporate headquarters are behind them 100%. "Our corporate group is really into lean, and all plant managers have received 'train the trainer' lean education. We are committed," said Fouts.

"Delane (Taylor), our IES lean facilitator, is very knowledgeable and has a broad range of experience, and we are grateful for all help IES has provided. We realize we'll never be finished, we continue to work with our team members and get more great ideas. It's all about continuous improvement," concluded Fouts.

Fluke's ReporterAnalyzer leverages Cisco IOS NetFlow Data

Fluke Networks Canada today released ReporterAnalyzer, a traffic analysis appliance that allows network managers to understand how application traffic is impacting network performance.

Primarily deployed in large and medium enterprises, ReporterAnalyzer monitors WAN and LAN interfaces across the enterprise in a scalable manner through the collection and analysis of Cisco IOS NetFlow information.

It provides a broad-based view of network performance allowing network managers to see what applications are using bandwidth, who is using them and when.

A network manager can view traffic measurements by application, host and conversation, providing the information needed for WAN cost reduction, network capacity planning, traffic analysis and troubleshooting, the company said.

ReporterAnalyzer also stores and reports on enterprise-wide NetFlow data for one year.

"The ability to store, analyze and trend on comprehensive performance data for up to one full year is critical to ensure network managers and architects make the right network decisions for the enterprise," Fluke said.

Pricing starts at $39,816.

Report Predicts Telecom Market Will Double By 2010

The worldwide telecommunications market is set for extraordinary growth, doubling from US$123 billion in 2004 to US$282 billion by 2010, says Research & Markets.

Communications represents opportunity for expansion of economies, the firm says in a report released today. Internet-based communications systems, it adds, are vastly improving the efficiency of the supply chain for the largest 5000 companies worldwide.

The combination of voice, video, and data on a network makes people more efficient. More information can be communicated not in real time, but is available, as people need it. Messaging systems play a significant role in passing information asynchronously.

"The uncertainty in the telecommunications markets has been resolved," the firm says. "Digital, IP and Ethernet will replace all other protocols.

"The convergence of networks is to IP, the Internet, Ethernet. It works seamlessly, it is reliable, it is resilient, it is fast.

"Now the issue is how fast the TDM networks will be replaced with the new technology. Wireless is everything. 3G base stations promise to coexist with WiMAX 802.16 base stations in metro environments."

BICSI Region Meetings Are A Hit!

BICSI Region Meetings Are A Hit! Many BICSI members have benefited from the powerful presentations at these region meetings. You can't beat the price, and this venue is a perfect opportunity for BICSI members to bring along guests. Several of the non-member guests told us that the meetings were a real value and they planned to join BICSI.

For several years, BICSI has experienced a growth in new members balanced by a loss of existing members. Hopefully the Region Meetings, improved web services, publications and "powerful programs packed with a punch" will reduce the loss of existing members while stimulating a strong influx of new members focused on the communications infrastructure industry. We applaud the efforts of the new Executive Director and the energized team at BICSI.

At both the U.S. South-Central Region and U. S. Southeast Region meetings, we got excellent feedback from the members on the exhibits and the presentations. Graybar received high marks for the "design online" software program for specifiers and consultants.

Graybar's Design Online is a Web-based Multi-Vendor Structured Cabling Design and Budgeting Tool for Consultants

Use of this tool is anticipated to provide a significant increase in productivity with fewer errors for users. Design Online's uses a simple point-and-click interface to provide Graybar's authorized consultants with the ability to save considerable time spent designing configuring and budgeting structured cabling projects while at the same time reducing errors. Consultants can have access to a centralized repository of more than 8,000 data communications products that includes pricing.

Included in the database are 15 interoperable cabling and connectivity product lines proven to exceed industry standards by the Graybar Verified Independently for Performance testing program. Consultants have the ability to manage multiple projects through the interface.

Time spent in developing structured cabling designs can be saved by: Reducing the time-to-assemble material lists for a complex project by using ready-made templates and by eliminating the tedious clerical work of copying and pasting data into spreadsheets.

Avoiding configuration errors with built-in goof-proof configuration rules;
Eliminating tedious phone, e-mail and fax communication by automatically generating budgets Generating a robust, fully configured product graphic "on the fly" to give customers early visibility of a design.

Design Online weaves together up-to-date and intelligent content on data communications products with their proper configurations - without overwhelming consultants. It was developed leveraging the eXalt Solutions software platform. Graybar selected eXalt Solutions because of its unique capabilities in building solution designs with technical products and dynamically creating complex bills of material, graphics, budgets and reports.

"The eXalt offering is truly unique - we have not seen any other software suited for the needs of our consultant partners. With Design Online, a consultant can assemble a VIP design in a fraction of the time with more accuracy than using conventional methods. We are excited to offer this leading-edge technology while extending VIP's tool. "Leadership position," explained Graybar Commercial Market Manager Bob Weiland.

Quote from consultant Mike Keeling, President of Data Site Consortium, Inc., "Having reviewed the Beta version of Design Online, I am looking forward to using its capabilities to respond better and quicker to my clients' cabling and connectivity needs. The site is intuitive to use, and its ability to save all related project information makes it truly an effective tool."

The BICSI regional meetings that Beast Cabling Systems has contributed and exhibited their new system:

March 11, 2005 South-Central Region Meeting
Wichita, KS

March 8, 2005 North-Central Region Meeting
Cleveland, OH

April 8, 2005 Southeast Region Meeting
Jacksonville, FL

A technology breakthrough for cable installation - THE BEAST

Who says that "you can't teach an old dog new tricks". While reviewing the exhibits and booths at the BICSI Winter Conference and Exhibition and also at three subsequent BICSI Region Meetings, we watched many attendees discover this real gem of a system.

Get set for one of the most important tool introductions for the Structured Cable Installation industry in over 20 years. The Beast is not just an innovative tool, but also an entirely new innovative approach to the time consuming and often frustrating task of getting the cable off the reel and into the building. The main component of the Beast Cabling System is a cable (reel or box) distribution system that resembles a loom.

When you add all of the enhanced capabilities that this system brings to the job, you will find the technical errors and "pilot errors" are almost completely eliminated. The BICSI attendees that we interviewed gave this breakthrough technology high marks for better job quality and substantial increases in speed while lowering costs.

Beast Cabling Systems Inc.
6711 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA 22205
Tel: 800-633-3114

Imagine... pulling 48 cables at one time! ... labeling and organizing them- right off the reel- in one simple step...saving 50% on labor costs on every "Beast Enabled" job you complete. Finally, imagine automatically measuring the length of every cable pull- forever eliminating cable run-outs in the middle of a pull.

It will change the way you install cable. This is one new tool your staff will quickly adapt to and use because it makes their job so much easier . . . And you save up to 50% on labor costs on every "Beast Enabled" job you complete. The Beast is expertly engineered and is crafted of the highest quality materials. Every Beast has a lifetime guarantee on every component. "If it ever fails, for whatever reason, we replace it."

The buildings of today and tomorrow are a complex dynamic structures operated by myriad systems all working independently yet harmoniously to provide occupants with communication, security, comfort, and safety while controlling ecological and environmental aspects-all working together and ultimately saving resources and money. At the heart of this technology platform is the network and cabling infrastructure. This infrastructure must be designed and implemented to allow for maximum flexibility and capability. An entire new installation system was needed to insure an organized, identified, and accurate cabling network was put in place. This new system has recently been introduced as the Beast Cabling System.

# # #

Here are the BICSI invitations to these Region Meetings. No wonder they were a success. Good planning and great programs.

U.S. South-Central Region
James Ray Craig

James Ray Craig, RCDD/LAN Specialist
US South-Central Region Director
James Ray Craig, RCDD/LAN Specialist
Craig Consulting Services
phone: 972-393-1669
fax: 972-245-4922

South-Central Region - AR, CO, KS, KY, LA, MS, MO, NM, OK, TN, TX

BICSI U.S. South-Central Region Meeting = SUCCESS!!!
James Ray Craig, RCDD/NTS Specialist, U.S. South-Central Region Director, invites you to the BICSI U.S. South-Central Region Meeting on Friday, March 11, 2005, 7:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. There is no charge for this meeting. BICSI members, members of related organizations, and anyone interested in learning about BICSI are welcome to attend. BICSI members who bring a non-member are eligible for a special door prize drawing.

This region meeting will be held at the Hyatt Regency Wichita, Eagle Ballroom, 400 West Waterman, Wichita, Kansas, 67202, telephone: 316-293-1234. Directions are available on the hotel's Web site (linked above).

The Hyatt Regency Wichita is offering a special room rate of $106.00 plus tax per night for a standard room. Reservations must be made by March 2, 2005 in the BICSI room block to receive this special room rate.

This meeting has been awarded BICSI continuing education credits (CECs) toward the renewal of the following BICSI designations: three (3) CECs for RCDD; one (1) CEC for RCDD/NTS Specialty; and three (3) CECs for ITS Installer 2 and ITS Technician.

Meeting Agenda

Morning Session


Registration, Membership Drive, Networking, and Vendor Showcase
Complimentary Continental Breakfast


Welcome, Introductions, and BICSI Update
James Ray Craig, RCDD/NTS Specialist, U.S. South-Central Region Director


What's New? What's It Do?
Presentations on new products or services.


What Is Phase Management And Why Is It Important?
Taz Cantrell, IDEAL Industries, Inc.


Break - Networking and Products Display


IP Addressing for Installers
Bob Erickson, RCDD/NTS/OSP Specialist, Chair, BICSI RSS Committee


Lunch - Complimentary

Afternoon Session


Fiber to the Premises
Mike Owens, Midstates Technology Options


Break - Networking and Products Display


BICSI Update
Bruce Nardone, RCDD, BICSI Master Instructor


BICSI Spring Conference Preview, Q&A, Closing Remarks, Door Prize Drawings, CEC Validation, and Evaluations


Vendor Showcase

US North-Central Region
Brian Hansen

Brian Hansen, RCDD/LAN Specialist
US North-Central Region Director
Brian Hansen, RCDD/NTS Specialist
CLA Services, Inc.
phone: 651-423-9140

North-Central Region - IA, IL, IN, MN, NE, ND, SD, MI, OH, WI

BICSI U.S. North-Central Region Meeting = SUCCESS!!!
Brian Hansen, RCDD/NTS Specialist, BICSI U.S. North-Central Region Director, invites you to the BICSI U.S. North-Central Region Meeting on Tuesday, March 8, 2005, 7:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. There is no charge for this meeting. BICSI members, members of related organizations, and anyone interested in learning about BICSI are welcome to attend. BICSI members who bring a nonmember are eligible for a special door prize drawing.

This region meeting will be held in conjunction with the Famous Telephone Supply Expo 2005 at the Cleveland IX Center, One I-X Center Drive, Cleveland, Ohio, 44135. Directions to the Cleveland IX Center, online registration, and information about the Famous Telephone Supply Expo 2005 are available on the Famous Telephone Supply Web site, We are very excited about our participation with Famous Telephone during this event!

Sheraton-Cleveland Airport, 5300 Riverside Drive, is offering a special room rate of $89.00 single occupancy per night, plus tax. Reservations must be made by Monday, February 21, 2005. Request the Expo room block to receive this special room rate. To make reservations, call Sheraton at 800-362-2244. For more hotel options, visit the "Accommodations" section on the Famous Telephone Supply Web site.

Meeting Agenda


Welcome, Introductions, and BICSI Update
Brian Hansen, RCDD/NTS Specialist, BICSI U.S. North-Central Region Director


What's New? What's It Do?
Presentations on new products or services. Presentations scheduled by American Power Conversion (APC), ERICO/CADDY Fasteners, IDEAL Industries, Leviton, METRObility Optical Systems, Ortronics, Plantronics, SIEMON, and Tyco Electronics/AMP NETCONNECT.


What is Phase Management and Why Is It Important?
Presented by: Ideal Industries, Inc.


Integrated Low-Voltage LAN Solutions
Presented by: ERICO/CADDY Fasteners


Break - Networking and Products Display


Electrical and Cooling Infrastructure for Consolidated Critical Systems: Solving the Physical Problems in the Critical Data Center or Equipment Room
Presented by: American Power Conversion (APC)


Learning the Fundamentals of Product Selections of Outside Plant Transitions Hardware
Presented by: Line Products


Augmented Category 6
Presented by: General Cable


BICSI Spring Conference Preview, Q&A, Closing Remarks, Door Prize Drawings, CEC Validation, and Evaluations

This meeting has been awarded BICSI continuing education credits (CECs) toward the renewal of the following BICSI designations: four (4) CECs for RCDD, two (2) CECs for RCDD/NTS Specialty, ITS Installer 2, and ITS Technician; and one (1) BICSI CEC for RCDD/OSP Specialty.

A special Thank You goes to the following companies for their generous donations and support: American Power Conversion (APC), ERICO/CADDY Fasteners, IDEAL Industries, Inc, Leviton, METRObility Optical Systems, Ortronics, Inc., Plantronics, Inc., SIEMON, Tyco Electronics/AMP NETCONNECT.

US - Southeast Region
Charles Wilson

US Southeast Region Director
Charles Wilson, RCDD/NTS/OSP
Wilson Technology Group, Inc.
3407 Rackley Rd.
Brooksville, FL 34604-7022
Phone: +1 352-796-9891
Fax: +1 352-796-4198

Southeast Region - AL, FL, GA, NC, SC, VA

Please accept this invitation to the BICSI U.S. Southeast Region Meeting on Friday, April 8, 2005, 7:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. There is no charge for this meeting. BICSI members, members of related organizations, and anyone interested in learning about BICSI are welcome to attend. BICSI members who bring a nonmember are eligible for a special door prize drawing.

This region meeting will be held at the Clarion Airport Hotel & Conference Center, 2101 Dixie Clipper Road, Jacksonville, Florida, 32218, telephone: 904-741-1997. Directions are available on the hotel's Web site:

The Clarion Airport Hotel is offering a special room rate of $74.00 plus tax per night for a standard room. Reservations must be made by March 27, 2005 in the BICSI room block to receive this special room rate.

This meeting has been awarded BICSI continuing education credits (CECs) toward the renewal of the following BICSI designations: four (4) BICSI CECs for RCDD, three (3) BICSI CECs for RCDD/NTS Specialty, and one (1) BICSI CEC for RCDD/OSP Specialty.

Meeting Agenda

Morning Session


Registration, Membership Drive, Networking, and Vendor Showcase
Complimentary Continental Breakfast


Welcome, Introductions, and BICSI Update
Charles "Chuck" Wilson, RCDD/NTS/OSP Specialist, BICSI U.S. Southeast Region Director


What's New? What's It Do?
Presentations on new products or services.


10 Gigabits and Beyond
Andrew Oliviero - OFS


Break - Networking and Products Display


"FTTX is a Reality! But can you build it?"
Jim Fasano - Multilink



Afternoon Session


Power Over Ethernet
Jason R. Krauskopf, RCDD - Enterprise Solutions


Break - Networking and Products Display


Improving Data Center Reliability and Efficiency by Regaining Lost Bypass Airflow
Greg Holm - Triton Technology Systems, Inc.


BICSI Update


BICSI Spring Conference Preview, Q&A, Closing Remarks, Door Prize Drawings, CEC Validation, and Evaluations


Vendor Showcase


Want to know more about how you can capture the business opportunities associated with integrated building systems? Mark your calendars for several key conferences and exhibitions.

AFCOM: April 17-21 Las Vegas

BICSI SPRING: May 2-5 Las Vegas

BOMA: June 23-28 Anaheim

REALCOMM: June 27-28 Anaheim, CA

CONNECT 2005: June 28 Anaheim ,

ACUTA: July 17 - 21 Gaylord Palms - Kissimmee, FL

NECA: September 18-20, 2005 New Orleans


April 5-7

April 6-7
SFBF: Ft.Lauderdale, FL

APRIL 13-17
BOMA Southern region conference. Memphis, Tenn

APRIL 17-22
Data Center World (DCW): Las Vegas, NV

April 20-22
Environ Design9

April 21-22
Broadband Wireless World: Las Vegas NV

May 1-6
Interop: Las Vegas, NV

May 4-6
Green Design Solutions: Hospitals & Schools: Chicago, IL

May 4-6
13th National Conference on Building Commissioning: New York City, NY

May 10-11
Expocom: Toronto

May 16-21
Affordable Comfort 2005: Indianapolis, IN

May 17-19
VOIP: Beijing China

May 17-27
Sustainable Practices in Design and Construction: Maho Bay, St John U.S. V.I.

May 18
ACUTA Midwest Regional Workshop - "Strategic Tradeoffs in Campus Wireless Mobility": Chicago, IL - Hyatt Regency O'Hare

May 19-21
AIA National Convention & Design Expo: Las Vegas, NV

May 22-25
UTC Telecom: Long Beach CA

MAY 30-June 2
Broadband World Forum: Yokahama Japan

JUNE 1-3
Greening the Heartland 2005:Cost, Practice & Policy: Chicago, IL

June 6-8
IEC: Chicago, IL

June 6-10
NFPA: Las Vegas, NV

June 6-9
Supercomm: Chicago, IL

JUNE 20-23
Ecobuild America 2005: The Environmental Systems Techology Conference

June 25-28
The North American Commercial Real Estate Congress & The Office Building Show
BOMA: Anaheim, CA
Vicki Cummins 888-777-6956


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